Cannabis Use Disorder and Ending Prohibition

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cannabis use disorderIn the State of Colorado, cannabis use is a topic of particular importance. On the one hand, The Centennial State joined Washington in being the first to legalize pot for adult recreational use; on the other, cannabis use disorder is a condition that affects many Coloradans.

About 9 percent of all marijuana users, and about 17 percent of those who start in adolescence develop a cannabis use disorder. Such numbers do not imply that the drug should be federally prohibited; it’s just that marijuana should not be viewed as a benign substance whose users are immune from consequences.

A recent study appearing in JAMA Psychiatry found that cannabis use disorder is on the rise since legalization was passed in several states. Colorado led the way when voters passed Amendment 64 in 2012; now, 11 states and Washington D.C. have passed recreational use laws.

Researchers found that between 2008 and 2016, the number of 12 to 17-year-olds reporting cannabis use disorder increased from 2.18% to 2.72%. The findings also indicate that the proportion of people 26 years or older reporting frequent marijuana use increased from 2.13% to 2.62% and those with cannabis use disorder increased from 0.90% to 1.23%.

While most Americans can agree that federal prohibition has done more harm than good, the study’s findings highlight the importance of directing more resources toward prevention. Young people must have all the facts considering they are at the highest risk of developing problems with the substance. What’s more, there are whispers that congress is planning to vote on a bill to federally legalize marijuana in the near future.

Ending Cannabis Prohibition in America

When most Americans think of the “war on drugs,” marijuana comes to mind. It’s the most used illicit substance in the United States, and more adults have convictions for cannabis-related offenses than any other controlled substance. What’s more, it’s no secret that marijuana prohibition has impacted minority communities disproportionately.

Ending federal prohibition is a step to right some of the wrongs and ensure that generations to come are not needlessly affected by draconian drug laws. It’s not guaranteed, but the House of Representatives could vote on the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act today, Forbes reports. The legislation is sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).

The bill would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), according to the article. MORE would also create a new federal five percent tax on marijuana sales; part of the generated revenue would fund initiatives to repair the damage of the war on drugs. The bill allows for resentencing and expungement of records for people with cannabis offenses on their record and protects immigrants from being denied citizenship status over marijuana-related crimes.

The bill has 55 cosponsors, and there is a Senate companion bill by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA). However, the Senate hasn’t scheduled a vote on Harris’ measure.

Cannabis Use Disorder Treatment

Federal marijuana prohibition has stymied research for decades, which means that scientists are still determining the short and long-term effects of cannabis use. However, we know that prolonged and frequent marijuana use can result in a substance use disorder. Those who meet the criteria for cannabis use disorder or CUD experience physical withdrawal symptoms when trying to abstain. Such individuals will contend with cravings and psychological dependence.

If you or someone you love is experiencing repercussions from marijuana (i.e., employment, school, or social problems), then please contact NorthStar Transitions. Our team helps clients break the cycle of addiction and teaches men and women how to lead a fulfilling life in recovery. Please reach out to us at any time to learn more about the NorthStar difference.

The staff of NST would like to wish everyone a peaceful Thanksgiving. We hope that people in recovery continue putting their program first during the holiday. Never hesitate to reach out for assistance from your support network.