In 2013, there was a study done with Americans, over the age of 12, that astonished many people when the results revealed that 9.4 percent (or 24.6 million people) had been an illegal drug user. The study supported suspicion that drug use was higher than prior years when it was compared to a similar study from 2002. Most of this growth is believed to be due to the popularity of marijuana having increased over the years. Since 2010, marijuana has become the greatest produced, as well as consumed drug. Many think that the increasing interest in marijuana will not end any time soon.
The use of marijuana can have both short and long term effects on the drug user. Short term effects can range from one feeling panicked to slow reactions to things happening in his or her surroundings. Long term effects can be anything such as a lowered immune system or change in one’s behavior. The effects of marijuana are not nearly as dangerous as the major health problems that can be caused to the user of a more heavy drug. Marijuana has been known as “the gateway drug” which can cause a marijuana user to experiment with heavier drugs after they have tried marijuana and not noticed any horrible side effects.
Drugs such as cocaine, steroids, and methamphetamine, have been known to cause abnormal breathing, chest pains, and frequent blackouts. Although, in my opinion, the most detrimental effect is the change in behavior caused by the negative psychological effects on one’s brain. One can suffer from effects that are less noticeable, yet get worse over time. These effects can be anything like memory loss, increased aggression, and depression. The more sudden risks are seizures and widespread brain damage that can take a toll on one’s day to day life. On top of all of that, a major loss in brain cells occurs. Losing brain cells is normal for every human, and thankfully, our brain has the amazing gift to repair the cells and grow new ones. This takes place during neurogenesis. Although, if one’s behavior, such as the excessive use of an illicit drug, is what is causing a major decrease in their brain cell count, it can be too late to fix the problem.
After doing research on the topic, it seems that the drug that causes the most overall trauma to one’s body, as well as mental state, is methamphetamine. Meth has been known to literally fry one’s brain cells and can cause such severe damage to someone that their brains become similar to the brains of someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or the brain of someone who has suffered from a stroke. In addition, once someone becomes hooked, it is one of the hardest drugs to quit. This may be due to the fact that meth is both a dopamine and stimulant.