Yahoo! News just conducted a poll along with The Marist Poll to seize American’s point of view about marijuana and its recreational and medicinal uses.

The survey is called “Weed & the American Family,” and the results found that over two-thirds of American adults support medicinal marijuana for professional athletes, more than half of American adults have tried marijuana at some point in their lives, and 74 percent of Americans don’t care whether celebrities smoke pot.

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One of the key points from the poll focused on whether Americans think that smoking pot is a health risk, and results showed that 51 percent of Americans agreed, 44 percent believe that it poses no threat, and 5 percent of Americans remain unsure. Marijuana use has been condemned by citizens who believe that it causes serious problems for people, especially teenagers.

Does marijuana affect brain development on teenagers?

The lack of conclusive answers in studies focused on the health hazards that marijuana can inflict on teenagers has led the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to embark on a large-scale study that will analyze 10,000 teens into early adulthood to look at how marijuana use affects their developing brains.

The human body has an endocannabinoid system, which is the master regulator of homeostasis, regulates intercellular communications through cannabinoid receptors and cause an alteration in their activities and triggering a blissed-out sensation, along with possible paranoia and anxiety. Cannabinoids receptors are involved in the development of the brain, and they help to guide the wiring of the neural network.

“In this period of critical neural vulnerability, exposure to things like THC can change the trajectory of how the brain develops over time,” said Director of the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core at Mc Lean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, according to Yahoo Beauty.

Image credit: iStockPhoto / CBS News
Image credit: iStockPhoto / CBS News

Gruber explains that when an individual smokes marijuana, changes occur within the prefrontal cortex, which is a critical part of the brain responsible for things like decision making, abstract reasoning, and consciousness.

Other studies have found that marijuana use in teens who smoked it for three years during their adolescence had an abnormally shaped hippocampus and performed poorly on long-term-memory jobs, even after they had stop smoking marijuana two years prior. Another research from Duke University found a link between long-term marijuana use on individuals younger than 18 and a lasting drop in their IQ.

An alarming study even concluded that there’s a link between marijuana use at adolescence and psychosis. However, further research on the subject has also found that this may occur due to a genetic propensity for mental illness that might be triggered by long-term marijuana use; and a study conducted by Harvard researchers failed to find a link between schizophrenia and marijuana use.

Specialists believe that although marijuana is not nearly as addictive as other drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, an individual can still become addicted to the plant. Nora Volkow, NIDA director, told Yahoo Beauty that about 9 percent of marijuana users become addicted to it, but if someone starts consuming it as a teenager, the percentage is of 19 percent. Volkow adds that 50 percent of teens consuming cannabis on a daily basis will become addicted to it.

Most researchers agree on the fact that the two biggest risk factors when consuming cannabis are the age of the consumer and the frequency of use. Specialists believe that the message for teenagers should be to wait to consume marijuana because it’s worth the wait.

Two-thirds of Americans believe marijuana should be allowed to professional athletes

“Weed & the American Family” poll results found that the majority of Americans support professional athletes using cannabis to manage the pains and aches they suffer from playing. 1,122 adults were surveyed, and 69 percent said athletes should be able to use marijuana for pain relief purposes, while 24 percent stated that they should not.

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The results come after a group of professional NFL athletes have spoken out about cannabis’ potential to replace opioid-based painkillers as the pain relief method among injured players. Eugene Monroe, a former Baltimore Ravens lineman, told Fox Business in June 2016, that the NFL should change its stance regarding marijuana use.

“Once you understand how helpful [cannabis] has been to people and that it’s a safer option than we’re currently doing, it’s a no-brainer in terms of dropping our testing policies and punishing players for consuming cannabis,” said Monroe, according to Yahoo.

Most Americans don’t care if their favorite celebrities use marijuana

Further results from the poll showed that 74 percent of Americans say it makes no difference whether their favorite celebrities smoke pot or not. For millennials aged between 18 and 34, the percentage rises to 81 percent. 56 percent of Americans also approved celebrities publicly supporting legalization of marijuana, and 38 percent do not agree.

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The results also found that 52 percent of American adults 18 or older have tried marijuana at least once, and 44 percent of that group currently uses it. “Weed & the American Family” poll also showed that 22 percent of Americans say they would have less respect for celebrities if they found out such person uses marijuana. Many celebrities have spoken out in the past regarding marijuana laws, and most support legalization, medicinal and recreational purposes. Famous actress Susan Sarandon told High Times in 2015 that it was absurd that more states hadn’t legalized it.

“It can be an important source of revenue,” said Sarandon. “You also see the reports on kids who have seizures that are prevented by medical marijuana […] It’s a lovely way to socialize and be with people – and to be with yourself and de-stress.“

Source: Yahoo! News