Long-term, habitual drug-use during teen years linked to potential for permanent damage.
Researchers from Northwestern University in Illinois analyzed the impact of heavy marijuana use on the brains of teenagers. They found that regions of the brain critical to memory function and reasoning were damaged by excessive use. Scientists acknowledged that they didn’t have a “before” picture of participants pre-drug brain structures, which would have given even greater clarity to findings.
However, the damage to brain structures from marijuana use was clear and experts are concerned that heavy use by teenagers could have long-term effects. The study also analyzed the effects of cannabis use on individuals suffering from schizophrenia (Brian Alexander, “Teen Pot Use Could Hurt Brain and Memory, New Research Suggests,” NBCNews.com, December 16, 2013).
First, do no harm...
With new medical-marijuana legislation proceeding in the United States, the question of what is harmful and helpful arises.
The discussion of the above study isn’t about a medical amount of any substance, but recreational use of marijuana. Drugs like marijuana fall into a unique category of substances that induce a drunken state in a person within minutes, if not seconds depending on the substance. This drunkenness is akin to the state one achieves with excess alcohol.
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards , nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God,” (1 Corinthians:6:9-10, emphasis added).
Habitual, unrepentant drunkenness is a sin that can keep us from the kingdom of God, therefore, any substance that renders us in that state and is used habitually falls into the same category.
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who [that] is in you, whom [which] you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s,” (1 Corinthians:6:19-20).
To inflict damage, of any kind, on our bodies is an affront to God, who created the very molecules that make up our bodies. Drug use that results in permanent or ever semi-permanent damage to our physical vessels is to treat God’s gift of life with contempt.
To care for our bodies as much as we are able, and to stay away from sinful mindsets or habits that would take the place of God’s way in our lives is the path we take as people of God.