4/20: Teens and Marijuana Abuse

April 20, 2018
4/20: Teens and Marijuana Abuse

April 20th, or 4/20, is an unofficial holiday among marijuana users who use this day as an annual excuse to indulge in marijuana consumption of all kinds and get high. While most people who “celebrate” this day don’t actually know its origins, Chris Conrad of the Oaksterdam Cannabis Museum attributes the popularity of 4/20 to a code used among high schoolers in the the 1970s. This code was used by a group who identified themselves as “The Waldos” to arrange meet ups after school (specifically 4:20 pm) where the teens would smoke together.

Now 50 years later, marijuana use among teens is still viewed as being rebellious, or worse, just a part of the teenage experience. The casual acceptance of marijuana use and abuse as part of youth culture only serves as a dangerous loophole, allowing addiction to fester behind social attitudes and misinformation. While 4/20 is widely observed as weed day, it’s important that we recognize the dangers that come with marijuana abuse and addiction, especially among teens.

Marijuana IS Addictive

Because marijuana is a plant and it is extremely unlikely to lead to overdose, many don’t believe marijuana addiction exists- but it does. Signs of marijuana addiction in teens include:

  • Persistent marijuana odor on clothes or belongings
  • Changes in personality or temperament
  • Frequent signs of marijuana use, which include:
  • Red eyes
  • Delayed reaction time and poor coordination
  • Increased heart rate
  • In some, panic or anxiety
  • Fluctuation in energy levels/lethargy
  • Impaired perception
  • Shifts in social circles
  • Sudden secrecy and withdrawal from loved ones
  • Behavioral changes and trouble in school or with authorities
  • Missing money or items which may be used to obtain drugs
  • Frequent illness which may fade throughout the day

Marijuana abuse among teens is heightened on 4/20, as are the associated dangers. Marijuana can impair drivers just as much as alcohol, leading to potentially deadly situations. It also impairs one’s decision making, which can have lasting effects on your teen’s future. Even beyond those risks, it is incredibly difficult to recognize if marijuana has been laced with other, much more dangerous substances. The ultra-potent opioid Fentanyl is up to 5000 times more powerful than heroin and can easily cause a fatal overdose. Altered batches of marijuana have been found to include Fentanyl as a means of extending or intensifying the high, but this unregulated use of Fentanyl has also contributed to the severe spike in overdose deaths in 2016.

If your concerned your teen may be experiencing marijuana addiction, it is up to you to intervene and help them on the journey to recovery for a better future. Contact us today for more information about how we can help!

Alexandrea Holder

Alexandrea Holder is a South Florida native working toward double Master’s degrees in Psychology and English. She finds the psychological aspects of addiction and mental illness fascinating, as both are prevalent in her family’s history. When not researching and spreading addiction awareness, Alexandrea enjoys sparring, artistic pursuits, and admiring puppies online.