Marijuana may not be as much of a problem for adult users as it was once believed to be, but it’s not a good choice for teenagers. In fact, studies from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reveal that use of marijuana by children and adolescents can impact decision-making, judgment, memory, learning ability and more.
NIDA studies also found that 6.6% of eighth-graders had smoked marijuana or hashish in the past month, while 11.8% had smoked in the past year. Meanwhile, the number of 10th graders who had used marijuana in the past month jumped to 18.4%, and 28.8% in the past year. By 12th grade, 22.3% reported using marijuana in the past month, and 35.7% had in the past year.
Clearly, there is less stigma surrounding the use of marijuana than there is around “hard” drugs like cocaine or meth. But that doesn’t mean marijuana is safe for young people to use. Teenage brains are still developing, and using pot can interfere with the development of the brain’s neural pathways. People that started smoking marijuana as children or adolescents reported lasting damage to cognitive function.
While these statistics are concerning, it’s important not to panic if you learn your child has experimented with marijuana. Because of its accessibility and availability, it’s possible that your teen will come into contact with it. Trying marijuana once or twice is unlikely to cause any lasting negative effects. However, it’s important to have a conversation with your teen, so he or she understands that, despite what people may say, marijuana can be habit-forming. And that it can lead to further experimentation — often with harder, more addictive substances.
Marijuana — known by a wide variety of names, including “weed,” “pot,” “bud,” “ganga” —comes from the flowers of the Cannabis plant. Its psychoactive properties are unpredictable, as it can function as a stimulant, as a depressant and as a hallucinogen.
Despite popular opinion, it is possible to develop an addiction to marijuana that would require drug rehab for teens. The National Institute on Drug Abuse indicates that approximately 2.6 million people in the U.S. use marijuana for the first time each year. Nine percent of people who use marijuana will come to depend on it. And of those who start using marijuana in their teens, 17 percent will become dependent.
While it is not as powerfully addictive as other substances like cocaine or heroin, it does create both physical and psychological dependence with regular use. Withdrawal symptoms from marijuana can involve:
If your teen is suffering from dependence on marijuana, Safe Landing can help. Our detox provides medication to help manage your child’s withdrawal symptoms safely and with minimal discomfort.
Some adults can manage to use marijuana occasionally or recreationally — much in the same way they might have an occasional alcoholic drink with friends. For others, marijuana use becomes all-consuming. Keep an eye out for signs that your teen isn’t simply experimenting with marijuana, and that it may have reached a point of addiction:
If you see your teen in these behaviors, their experimentation likely has gotten out of control — and they need your help. Safe Landing can help your teen find healthier ways of relaxing, socializing, and more.
When we think of marijuana use, we usually think of people smoking it — either through small, hand-rolled cigarettes (“joints”) or through water pipes (“bongs”). However, as marijuana becomes more socially acceptable and better marketed, there are more options for consumption. Many users prefer to use a vaporizer, similar to a vape pen or e-cigarette. Also, edible options — such as candies, gummies, cookies, etc. — are especially popular among teens.
The psychoactive chemical in marijuana, THC, can be made more potent by concentrating the resin. Those concentrated compounds can be used to make a dense resin called hashish (or hash); a creamy, waxy substance called budder; or a hard candy-like crystalline material known as shatter. All of these concentrates are much more potent than “flower” marijuana and contain significantly more THC.
Many teens that came to rely on marijuana were simply looking for relief from anxiety or other mental health conditions. We’ll begin by identifying and treating any underlying mental health conditions that may have been contributing to your teen’s dependence on marijuana. Some of the best treatments available for marijuana abuse and addiction are cognitive behavioral therapy and trauma therapy, which not only provide a way of handling cravings but also deliver coping strategies that can be useful throughout recovery.
Also, our wellness program for teen substance abuse treatment — which includes yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and other techniques — provides a healthy way of dealing with stress, all without the need for marijuana or other drugs.
If you have questions about your teen’s marijuana use, please give us a call. We’re here to help — and give you the answers you need.