Cultural Causes of Marijuana Use

There are a lot of aspects to the cultural causes of marijuana use. For starters, television and movies are one of them. There’s even basically a whole new category of movie genre dedicated to stoners. This isn’t new but over time has gotten increasingly widespread. We see tons of movies showcasing smoking weed from bongs being held by some of the most famous comedy actors of our time. In this way it’s deemed as cool, hip, acceptable, etc. Teenagers watch these movies and think that it might not be such a big deal and associate this with the thrill of comedy. Essentially being an audience, and young for that matter, it’s not hard to get caught up in the thrill of its concept. This is only compounded by the fact that major rap and hip hop artists incorporate the street names for marijuana consistently in their music. It’s then rendered even more acceptable and even more common. Pop culture has a lot do with the idea that using marijuana isn’t a big deal or that it isn’t harmful, when this couldn’t be further from the case. It’s a shame that so many kids who look up to these artists, these movies, and television shows are letting the idea that it’s fun or something to sink in. It’s because using marijuana has probably been more glamorized than any other drug in pop culture.

Another aspect to this is social media and the influx of memes, quotes or photos with the marijuana leaf symbol that is bombarding the internet on a daily, even hourly, basis. There are even whole clothing brands screen printed in marijuana leaves. It all piles up into this seriously pro-marijuana society that has kids younger and younger with each new generation reaching for that joint at a party when maybe they wouldn’t have before. In the grand scheme of things it almost seems like propaganda for legalize weed campaigns. But all it really comes down to is that the combination of television shows, movies, music and social media has grown into a highly pro marijuana painted picture. It’s everywhere you look, you simply cannot avoid it on the internet. It seems as though it has gotten even more intensely promoted via these outlets since the onset of the war on weed, only intensifying with time. Whatever the reason is, it’s not a god message being sent out there for especially younger people. The younger you are when you try a substance the more likely you’ll end up getting addicted to said substance. Then this leads to severe substance abuse later on in life when it could’ve been avoided. It’s an unfortunate situation but a situation to examine in painstaking manner nonetheless. These children are our future, and with that future that we strive for comes an unrelenting responsibility on our parts-the adults. However it is promoted, it’s promotion to a crowd that is not only vulnerable but that is susceptible in that vulnerability wherein addiction could set in at an early age. IQ points take a toll when someone under the age of eighteen uses marijuana- particularly using it heavily.

Dangers To Marijuana

Pop culture seems to promote that because weed is natural this somehow means it isn’t dangerous or doesn’t have the potential to be (at all). This isn’t true though when you thoroughly examine the study and scientific research that has gone into this subject. Aside from a strictly medical point of view, let’s isolate it as the recreational drug it has mostly been. A lot of people like to say that one joint isn’t any worse for you or more harmful than drinking a beer. This is a common comparison. However, there are several things that the drug can mess with. One of these is motor coordination, another is short-term memory and another is concentration. One beer, obviously depending on the person, but generally one beer cannot interfere like this. Marijuana, on the other hand, has the potential to do so. People also pose the argument that marijuana isn’t addictive but this isn’t true either. Marijuana has been proven addictive both physically and psychologically, if it’s being used frequently. There are even a whole set of withdrawal symptoms that users tend to report experiencing. These symptoms are things like anxiety, difficulty with sleep or insomnia, tremors, aggression, lack of appetite and mood swings. Some other effects from the drug to look at include:

  • General difficulty thinking
  • Feelings of paranoia
  • Issues with memory
  • Issues with learning or retaining information
  • Depression
  • Being unmotivated
  • Financial difficulties
  • Not meeting obligations
  • Not feeling happy in general
  • Impaired judgement
  • Increased susceptibility to infections
  • Impairment of driving skills which could be dangerous or lead to a dangerous situation
  • Cardiac problems

Addiction is also a serious issue that is consistently overlooked, especially in the realm of pro-marijuana groups or viewpoints. This can pose a problem for somebody who wants to quit using marijuana but doesn’t feel like it’s a serious enough addiction or an addiction at all for that matter in order to seek the appropriate type of help. This could make them feel like it’s not a big deal which could lead to continuous relapse because they aren’t seeking out the help and support which they actually require in order to maintain stabilized sobriety. In fact, having a support system or even just someone who you could talk to or that understands where you’re coming from/has compassion can really help with an addiction of any kind- but that definitely includes a marijuana addiction. The fact of the matter is that the more nonchalant of an attitude which is spread on the drug, the less people would admit marijuana addiction exists and the less they would take someone seriously who is struggling with it- which is a dangerous and not healthy position for society to be in.

Getting Informed

Of course there are a myriad of personal reasons that could lead someone to use marijuana but it doesn’t help when it’s being promoted left and right to a marked degree. There’s no doubt to the fact that it’s practically an unavoidable subject during this day and age. At a time when the war on legalizing marijuana is at its peak, many people are being misguided by propaganda which is pro-marijuana. This is when people need to take the necessary actions to not only educate and inform themselves but at the same time educate and inform their children- properly. There is a lot of false information out there such as the few mentioned above. It is a very glorified drug in society via pop culture and this is a big cultural cause. It really does have a lot to do with how it is being portrayed versus the facts and reality on the matter. Getting the facts straight is vital.

By Robert O. Newman II, ICDAC, ICPS, CIP