Updated: January 9, 2012 3:50PM
Dr. Wallace: There is a big push throughout the world to make the use of marijuana a legal act. In fact, in Canada there is a political party known as the Marijuana Party. First of all, I want to know if marijuana is actually a drug, and next, is marijuana addictive?
I smoke marijuana occasionally when I’m with friends (never alone) or at a party where others are smoking pot. I enjoy getting high, but I have never had the addictive feeling that I had to have another one soon. Please enlighten me.
Nameless, Crown Point
Nameless: It’s debatable whether marijuana is addictive. Some scientists think it is, while the majority of them say it isn’t. Scientific research is continuing in this area. Marijuana is classified as a psychoactive drug that changes the user’s behavior. Scientists do agree that low doses tend to produce restlessness and an increased sense of well-being, followed by a dreamy, carefree state of relaxation, an illusory expansion of time and space and a subtle change in thought formation and expression.
Moderate doses may result in a state of intoxication that intensifies these reactions. The user may experience rapidly changing emotions and impaired memory, with an altered sense of self-identity.
High doses of marijuana can result in loss of personal identity, fantasies and hallucinations. The withdrawal syndrome in high doses is characterized by sleep loss, irritability, hyperactivity, decreased appetite, sweating and increased salivation.
Also, remember that smoke in your lungs, be it tobacco or marijuana, is a major health hazard.
There is a growing number of elected officials pushing to have marijuana use legalized. They are saying that the use of marijuana should be equal to the use of alcohol — controlled and taxed. This movement is gaining momentum, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see marijuana legalized in the near future.
Dr. Wallace: I’m 13 and have an 11-year-old sister. I like her, but it annoys me when she copies everything I do. She likes to wear her hair the same way I do. She also likes the same foods that I do, hates the same foods I hate, plays the same sports that I play and likes the same music that I like. You get the idea!
What can I do to get her to think for herself? Even my friends consider her a clone of me.
Melody, Sidney, Ohio
Melody: Your sister is copying you because she thinks you are one sharp sister and she wants to be just like you. Don’t let this flattery unnerve you. In time, your sister will take her own course. Until then, you might as well enjoy being her prime role model.
Write to Dr. Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org