Following the tragic death of a young Australian after his first experience smoking Marijuana, Teen Challenge Qld is urging all Governments across Australia to make the drug illegal.
The issue of legalising Marijuana for medicinal purposes has been prevalent in recent months however the Queensland affiliate of the world-wide Teen Challenge organisation, witnesses first hand the life controlling effects the drug can have. While there are the immediate physical effects, there are also dangerous long term mental, physical and relational impacts.
Teen Challenge’s Executive Director, Joanne Hobbs, says the organisation is concerned that legalising or decriminalising Cannabis will only increase the perception that the drug is safe.
“What we see Marijuana do to young lives, is devastating. Not only does it impact their cognitive functions immediately after consumption, which can prove very dangerous, but it can also affect their physical and mental health as well as family and social lives for years after,” she said.
“Regardless of consumption being a one off experiment or a long term habit, it can have extremely dangerous consequences and it’s our concern that legalising this drug will send the wrong message to the young people of this country,” Mrs Hobbs continued.
Marijuana causes the cannabinoid receptors in your brain cells to respond to its active ingredient, THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), creating sensations of pleasure and relaxation. However most of these receptors are located in the areas of the brain that affect memory, cognition, perception and motor coordination. This can have detrimental affects, especially on younger brains that are still developing.
The Australian Drug Federation states that cannabis is the most used illicit drug within the ages of 12-17 with 14.8% having tried the drug. A number that Teen Challenge QLD would expect to see rise should legalisation be rolled out across the country.
Use of cannabis, whether it is just once or habitual, is dangerous. Teen Challenge QLD is committed to helping restore the lives of those who are addicted but also to prevent others going down that same path.
‘We need to protect the next generation by preventing them from starting to use this drug. Legalising or decriminalising it will make this task harder. It increases the perception that smoking marijuana is ok, and the recent tragic death of the young man in Queensland is evidence that this is not the case,’ Hobbs finished.