by: Mandy Murphey
ST. LOUIS – Now that recreational marijuana will be legal in a couple of weeks in Missouri, the state is dealing with some potential pitfalls from the new law.
Those who study addiction, like Washington University psychiatry professor Dr. Laura Bierut, says people should be aware that marijuana is addictive. She says it is a myth to think that it is not addictive.
According to Dr. Bierut, approximately 15% of marijuana users struggle to quit and develop marijuana use disorder. It is more common in adolescents.
According to research, the younger you are when you start using the substance, the more likely you are to develop an addiction. The adolescent brain is a developing brain. Bierut says the key is a public health campaign to educate schools, parents, and the public.
Another issue is driving while high. Bierut says the answer is developing a test for marijuana use, like a breathalyzer for alcohol. One of the biggest issues for employers may be drug testing in the workplace. Dr. Bierut claims that there is currently no test to distinguish between current intoxication and people who use it recreationally. However, employers can establish zero tolerance policies.