Legal Marijuana and Teenagers

With all of the recent news surrounding the legalization of recreational marijuana, there’s some important pieces of information you need to know!

  1. The potency of marijuana and THC-related concentrates has significantly increased over the last 20 years! Often we’re seeing parents who don’t see a harm in their teenagers recreationally smoking marijuana due to their own experiences in their teens. It’s safe to say we’re not dealing with the same caliber of drug as we once were in the years past.
  2. Psych Central reported after a recent study that the legalization of recreational marijuana reduced teens perception of harmfulness by over 14%! In my opinion, over the next decade, as other states jump on the legal marijuana train, we’ll continue to see the stigma of marijuana continue to change. As a result, the idea that marijuana is harmless and “not physically addictive” will continue to grow amongst the younger generations.
  3. There have been many cases and studies done on marijuana causing acute adverse mental effects very similar to a large number of psychiatric disorders. What this means is that those with latent pre-existing mental conditions may experience short-term episodes of their psychotic disorders. Understanding this can be very helpful! Not everyone is mentally equipped for smoking marijuana and this can be stressed even more during teenage development.
  4. In one report, a clinician mentions teens are more vulnerable to emotional dependence on marijuana than adults are. During experimental stages, when a teenager is using marijuana, there then starts to become a reliance on the marijuana to cope with everyday stressors that teens experience. This type of behavior makes them more likely to develop substance use disorders in the future. When a teenager is using any type of drug or alcohol to escape and deal with their life problems, it not only robs them of learning essential life tools to problem solve on their own but it also enables them with a “quick fix” mentality. This is especially dangerous in today’s day and age, with social media and many other instant gratification devices – it’s drastically affecting individual’s self-esteem and basic communication skills.

It’s important to understand that even though there are claims that marijuana has been tested and proven to have minimal negative effects physically on adults, there are still dangers to be aware of when it comes to our teens recreational use. While I’m not going to sit here and say your teen’s life is going to be over if they try marijuana, however, I do believe that the best game plan here is to educate your teen on the dangers of using before the brain is fully developed.

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