Is Legalized Drugs a Good Thing?

Legalized Drugs: How Will Legal Mushrooms and Marijuana Affect Addiction Rates?

The 2020 election proved voters wanted to ease restrictions on recreational and medicinal drug use. With many people asking, is marijuana going to be legalized? Well, on November 3rd, Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota answered this question. They made legal weed news joining 11 other states passing legalized drugs. 

Voters in Oregon also approved two landmark measures – one allowing legal mushrooms and another decriminalizes small amounts of illicit drugs. Measure 109 allows the use of psilocybin or magic mushrooms in therapeutic settings. While Measure 110 makes small amounts of certain drugs a civil violation with a $100 fine. 

Is Legalized Drugs a Good Thing?

Just as many people ask, is marijuana going to be legalized, many people ask why have legalized drugs. Both sides of the issue continue making legal weed news with good arguments—for example, the effect of legalized drugs on addiction and incarceration rates. However, the money states can make off legalized drugs is a great selling point. 

Arguments Against Is Marijuana Going to be Legalized

The anti-side of legalized drugs argues that using marijuana or cannabis regularly can lead to addiction. Drug addiction is a major problem in America. And many people worry legalizing marijuana will worsen addiction rates. 

Arguments against legalizing recreational marijuana include:

  • Marijuana is addictive and changes the natural chemical makeup of the brain. These changes affect the body’s physiological functions. 
  • When more people use marijuana, the higher the rates of cannabis use disorder. 
  • Although not as physically dangerous as other drugs, marijuana can cause a decrease cognitive skills and motivation. These effects can interfere with memory, opportunities, and performance. 
  • Making marijuana as socially acceptable as alcohol and tobacco can lead to unpredictable consequences.
  • Legalizing marijuana can cause the youth to view it as harmless. 
  • Psychiatric issues can be challenging to diagnose in those who use cannabis. 

Legal Weed News Argues For, Is Marijuana Going to be Legalized

In 2012, Colorado and Washington legalized recreational marijuana. Since legalization, Colorado has collected over $1.2 billion in taxes and fees. Last year alone, legalized drugs brought in over $302 million. However, Washington blew them out of the water collecting $395.5 million last year. 

When the answer is yes when asking is marijuana going to be legalized, a boom in local economies happens. More people will open independent dispensaries and grow shops increasing jobs. This increase in jobs benefits everyone – individuals, businesses, and governments.

Legalized Drugs and Teen Addiction Rates

Arguments for legalizing recreational marijuana include:

  • Marijuana is physically less harmful than alcohol.
  • Most individuals incarcerated for cannabis are otherwise law-abiding citizens.
  • Attempts at controlling the supply of marijuana with incarceration have failed.
  • Just as with tobacco use, universal access to education and treatment can decrease the demand.
  • Marijuana is not a gateway drug – marijuana use doesn’t typically lead to using other drugs.
  • Tax money from cannabis can fund prevention programs.
  • Government regulation of legalized drugs offers a safer and purer substance, unlike buying illicit drugs.

Legalized Drugs and Addiction Rates

Some people believe that legalized drugs will lead to higher addiction rates. But, the statistics don’t support this belief. Furthermore, as people understand addiction more, the opinion is changing. For example, addiction is seen as a mental health disorder and not a criminal one. 

In 2001 the world was watching as Portugal made legal weed news and legalized drugs. And now, over a decade later, drug use has not gone up. However, arrests, incarceration, and overdose rates have all gone down. 

For example:

  • Portugal’s drug use rates are far below European and U.S. rates
  • From 1998 to 2011, people in addiction treatment increased by over 60 percent
  • Overdoses dropped from 80 in 2001 to only 16 in 2012.

Legalized Drugs and Teen Addiction Rates

In Colorado, one benefit of legalized drugs is their impact on teen marijuana use. A federal survey shows since legalizing recreational marijuana, teen marijuana use has dropped. 

The number of high school students who used marijuana between 2011 and 2017 dropped 11 percent. At the same time, teens who tried marijuana also dropped 11 percent. One reason may be legalized drugs, and their restrictions make it difficult for teens to obtain marijuana. 

Legal Weed News and Opioid Use

Between 2000 and 2016, 4027 people in Colorado suffered fatal opioid overdoses, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. However, their study in 2017 found opioid-related deaths fell more than 6 percent. So, these stats show that legalized drugs have positive impacts on opioid use rates. 

Legal Weed News, Legalized Drugs, and Incarceration

The term “decriminalization” is thrown around a lot lately when discussing legalized drugs, specifically cannabis. However, decriminalization is not the same as legalization. Simply put, decriminalization of marijuana simply reduces the consequences of breaking some marijuana laws. 

Legalized Drugs

Most states which have decriminalized marijuana, for example, don’t press criminal charges for small amounts of legalized drugs. For example, getting caught with typically less than an ounce will not result in jail time or a criminal record. However, like an open container violation, a fine may be issued.

Legal Weed News: Colorado Crime Rates After Legalized Drugs

It’s been 8 years since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana use. And, as you would expect, marijuana arrests plummeted. For example, between 2012 and 2017, marijuana arrests dropped 56 percent. 

However, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigations’ latest annual report, all forms of violent crimes have been steadily rising over 5 years. But, Gov. Hickenlooper isn’t ready to blame legalized drugs just yet. Some people believe the rise in crime is because of an increase in the transient population.

Medical Cannabis and Legalized Drugs

The medical benefits of cannabis have been studied and debated for decades. THC, the main component of cannabis, does have medical benefits. In fact, there are FDA-approved drugs that contain THC, such as Marinol and Cesamet. 

Although there are arguments against medical cannabis, there are so many personal stories of how medical cannabis helped physically and mentally. But, above all, it has helped some people recover from prescription drug addictions. 

Legal Mushrooms and Mental Health

The main ingredient in several types of psychoactive mushrooms is psilocybin. It is commonly homegrown or found in the wild while being sold dried or fresh. Scientists and mental health professionals consider psilocybin a promising treatment in a variety of psychiatric diagnoses. 

Like other psychedelics, legal mushrooms cause profound consciousness and perception changes. The effects of legal mushrooms typically last 4 to 6 hours. But, the peak effects of legal mushrooms occurs 2 to 3 hours after ingestion. 

The effects of legal mushrooms include:

  • Sensory enhancement
  • Seeing objects that appear to be floating or moving
  • Unusual thoughts and speech
  • Personal insight and reflection
  • An excited mood

However, legal mushrooms can overwhelming or mentally jarring. But, taken in a therapeutic setting can lead to deeply meaningful and positive life-changing experiences. Dozens of studies are showing significant benefits in treating the following disorders with legal mushrooms. 

  • Cluster headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Addiction
  • Depression
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Are Legal Mushrooms Addictive?

Legal mushrooms are not considered addictive nor cause compulsive use. Because the experience is so intense, most people limit their use of legal mushrooms. Besides, the body quickly builds a tolerance to psilocybin. 

This tolerance leads to needing more for the same effect. But, using legal mushrooms repeatedly for a few days actually takes away any effects from legal mushrooms. Cross-tolerance occurs specifically with legal mushrooms and LSD. Cross-tolerance means if you take LSD one day and legal mushrooms the next, the legal mushrooms will have no effect. 

Treatment Centers Respond to Legalized Drugs

Although legalized drugs like marijuana are considered organic, harmless, and safe, they can be addictive.  The NIDA suggests around 9 percent of those who misuse marijuana will develop a marijuana addiction. But, if you start using as a teen, that rate goes up to 17 percent. 

Although marijuana isn’t physically addictive like heroin or alcohol, it can be psychologically addictive. Because most people favor legalized drugs, there is a misconception about addiction and the need for marijuana addiction treatment. 

Legalized Drugs and Treatment at Sana Lake Recovery Center

At Sana Lake, we understand that the availability of legalized drugs can lead to addiction. So, if you find yourself struggling with a marijuana use disorder, we have a personalized program to help. Our comprehensive recovery approach sets our members up to achieve Recovery for Life. 

From traditional to holistic therapies, treatment may include:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Group therapy
  • Co-occurring disorder treatment
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Holistic therapies – yoga, meditation, mindfulness, nutrition, journaling

Your Recovery for Life Starts Today!

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or mental health disorders, it’s time to get help. From medical detox through our aftercare programs, our doctors and therapists are with you each step. Contact us today to find out more. 

References:

https://drugpolicy.org/issues/drug-decriminalization

https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cbi/colorado-crime-stats

https://drugpolicy.org/sites/default/files/Psilocybin_Mushrooms_Fact_Sheet.pdf

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/marijuana-addictive