Dear Dr. Wallace:
I’m 19, and the guy I was seeing is 22. Last weekend, we attended an engagement party; an hour after we arrived, we got into a huge argument because he thought I was flirting with a guy I’ve known since grade school. The argument became so heated that people were standing around watching us do battle. I was so embarrassed that I told him to drive me to my apartment immediately. He swore at me and told me to walk home. Then he said he was leaving and took off.
He is usually loving, kind, thoughtful, supportive and a sweetheart of a guy. But a few other times, he has been cruel, demanding, threatening, foul-mouthed and simply a despicable person. It’s so strange. He is the perfect example of a Dr.-Jekyll-and-Mr.-Hyde type of personality. It’s almost like he really is two different people, depending on which day I see him and what situation we are in.
I know that you are going to tell me to dump him, but tell me why you will give me that advice. — Double Trouble, Memphis, Tennessee
Dear Double Trouble: You are 100 percent correct. Dump this guy immediately. It’s apparent that he has a large amount of serious emotional concerns that took 22 years to perfect. Chances are very strong that his split personality will remain with him until he receives the professional therapy he desperately needs. But I’m not sure he will ever admit he has an emotional problem. Mr. Hyde also didn’t think he was emotionally unbalanced.
Dear Dr. Wallace: My boyfriend occasionally smokes marijuana but never when we are together because he knows that I am a bit of a “health nut.” I eat good food, exercise regularly and get at least eight hours of sleep per night. I weigh 117 pounds, and I plan on keeping very close to this weight, if possible.
I also want to be sure that I have a healthy body. I’m well aware of the many health dangers of smoking tobacco. But I never hear about the bad physical effects marijuana use has on the body. I do know that pot will make you feel “high, relaxed and dreamy,” because that’s how my boyfriend describes his feelings when smoking pot. He also says that it isn’t physically harmful to the body, and he is encouraging me to join him in sharing a few puffs so I can become relaxed and dreamy with him.
I’m positive that I won’t become addicted or anything like that, but I still would like to be informed on the physical effects, if any, of smoking pot.
— Healthy Girl,
Charlotte, North Carolina
Dear Healthy Girl: Though marijuana and tobacco are technically different substances, research indicates that smoking marijuana can emit similar substances to those we find in tobacco smoke, which we already know is harmful to our bodies. Marijuana is made up of cannabinoids, including the primary tetrahydrocannabinol more commonly known as THC. Cannabis comes in different forms and can be made up of different leaves and compounds, so there are variables to each strain; but the overall similarity to tobacco smoke may give pause to a health-conscious lady like you.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that “smoked marijuana delivers THC and other cannabinoids to the body, but it also delivers harmful substances to users and those close by, including many of the same substances found in tobacco smoke, which are harmful to the lungs and cardiovascular system.”
Additionally, “Because marijuana plants come in different strains with different levels of active chemicals, it can make each user’s experience very hard to predict.
According to the CDC, “About 1 in 10 marijuana users will become addicted. For people who begin using before the age of 18, that number rises to 1 in 6.
“Some of the signs that someone might be addicted include:
— “Unsuccessful efforts to quit using marijuana.
— “Giving up important activities with friends and family in favor of using
— “Using marijuana even when it is known that it causes problems fulfilling everyday jobs at home, school or work.
“People who are addicted to marijuana may also be at a higher risk of other negative consequences of using the drug, such as problems with attention, memory, and learning. Some people who are addicted need to smoke more and more marijuana to get the same high ... The higher the THC content, the stronger the effects are on the brain. In addition, some methods of using marijuana (e.g., dabbing, edibles) may deliver very high levels of THC to the user.”