Although recent research has found that the rate of teens using hard drugs such as heroine or cocaine has went down, the rate of marijuana use seems to be on the rise. Aside from alcohol, marijuana serves as the drug most easily accessible to teens. In fact, over 45 percent of 17 and 18 year old teens admit to having using marijuana at least once. Even more shocking is that over 85 percent of teens say that they could easily have access to marijuana. These shocking numbers help us to understand why 100,000 American teens are treated annually for a marijuana addiction.
Many teens stand firm in the belief that marijuana should be made legal. Further contributing to teen marijuana use is the fact that many adults recall their own experiences with marijuana and don’t seem to view it as a serious problem. They seem to be more concerned with drugs such as cocaine and heroine. However, what most parents and teens are unaware of is that marijuana that is on the street now is very different from that of the past. In a world where dealers are always looking for ways to earn more money, they often lace marijuana with other more powerful substances. This makes current forms of marijuana even more dangerous.
Teens can very easily and quickly become addicted to marijuana. They may start using it as an occasional release from their everyday academic, social, and athletic stresses. However, their continued use begins to build up a tolerance. They seek more marijuana or worse, more drugs to achieve that high.
Parents can quickly and easily spot the symptoms of marijuana abuse. Smoking marijuana leaves a very distinct, strong odor on the teen’s clothing and hair. In fact, the smell of marijuana on their breath is often very hard to hide with mouthwashes, gum, or mints. Parents can also look at how their teen is acting. Marijuana often makes someone giggly, disoriented, extremely hungry, and extremely thirsty. Their eyes may appear blood shot and paranoia and anxiousness may set in.
By watching for all of these signs, parents can quickly learn if their teen is abusing marijuana. The long and short term effects of marijuana are wide ranging. There can be medical, social, and physical effects.
Continued use of marijuana may lower a teen’s ability to understand and store information. They may have difficulty concentrating on a lesson plan in school. Their problem solving skills are affected. This can quickly lead to missed assignments, failed exams, skipped classes, and lowered grades.
Teens also begin to lose interest in the activities that they once loved. Soccer no longer holds the same appeal. Their motor skills may be affected creating a decrease in their athletic abilities.
Aside from the numerous short term effects of marijuana, the long term effects on the teen’s body can include cancer, lung problems, and immune system issues. Some of the same cancer-causing ingredients that are found in nicotine are also found in marijuana. Continued use can lead to many of the same forms of cancer that nicotine causes.
Repeated smoking of marijuana can also mimic the effect that cigarette smoke has on one’s lungs and their airways. They may tend to cough a lot and wheeze. Their ability to breath is greatly affected.
Marijuana has also been associated with a decreased immune system. Prolonged use can inhibit the body’s defenses to fight off certain diseases and illnesses.
Marijuana may also have connections with other harder drugs. Users of marijuana are at an increased risk to eventually try harder drugs such as cocaine and heroine. They also tend to use forms of nicotine with marijuana.
The many effects of marijuana can be serious and eventually life threatening. Teens are often given many mixed messages regarding marijuana use. They may be told it is safe and not addicting. However, parents should be open in discussing just what marijuana can do.
If your teen is using marijuana and you are seeking a way to help, you may consider sending them to a boarding school. New Creations Boarding School, a therapeutic Christian boarding school, serves teens that are abusing drugs. They will create a disciplined schedule that will allow your teen to get back on the right path in school, sports, extracurricular activities, and their personal life. Please visit www.newcreationsboardingschool.org.