28 Facts About Marijuana Use In Teenagers And Its Effects

Written by MomJunction • 

As a parent of a teenager, anxiety and stress are common emotions you experience. It is natural for you to worry about your teen’s habits, and for you to remain anxious until he comes home in the evening. And one of the biggest pitfalls of teenage life is getting hooked onto addictive substances like Marijuana.

You have probably read or heard about marijuana abuse in teens, and you probably know how addictive it can be. So, if you are looking for some information to educate your teen about the substance, you should consider reading our post ‘marijuana facts for teens’ below.

What Is Marijuana?

Marijuana is a more popular name given to cannabis. It is prepared from the Cannabis plant and is used as a psychoactive drug, and in some cases, as a medication. The most active ingredient in marijuana, which acts as the psychoactive substance, is known as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Psychoactive drugs alter the way your brain functions when you use them. As a result, you experience a high, a state of feeling in which your senses seem extremely heightened, and you also experience changes in your mood, the level of your consciousness and your perceptions. In most cases, marijuana is used because it leads to a change in various mental and physical effects. Some of the immediate marijuana effects on teens is an elevation of your mood, an increased feeling of relaxation and an increase in your appetite.

From the beginning of the 20th century, the use of marijuana has come under the legal scanner. Possession, use and sale or preparation of marijuana that contains psychoactive cannabinoids has been termed illegal in most of the countries in the world [1].

[ Read: Ways To Prevent Teen Drug Abuse ]

Facts About Marijuana Use In Teenagers:

Here are a few facts about the use of marijuana, especially during teenage years:

  • In the year 2013, around 4.2 million people were identified as having a marijuana addiction. The youngest age of the people who were identified as addicts were aged 12.
  • The rate of addiction is approximately 1 in 6 especially when marijuana is used in the teen years.
  • If your teen uses marijuana on a daily basis, the rate of addition will go up from 17 percent to about anything between 25 and 50 percent.
  • Marijuana is also commonly used with alcohol and other illegal drugs, which further increases the chances of an accident.
  • Marijuana is known to have negative effects on concentration and attention span, which means that it makes it difficult for teens to pay attention in class.
  • Marijuana is also one of the most commonly used illegal drugs in the U.S.
  • Over the years, more teens are getting the impression that using marijuana is safe and does not have any health effects or other side effects. However, it is a myth and can lead to uninformed use and negative effects.
  • When you smoke marijuana, the THC in the same passes at a fast speed from your lungs to your bloodstream. It mixes in your blood and then passes onto various other organs in your body.
  • When you eat or drink marijuana, the THC in the same passes at a slower rate as compared to when you smoke it. It still moves into your blood stream and then passes on to the various other organs in your body.
  • The use of marijuana can send some parts of your brain into an overactive mode. As a result, it can lead to various side effects, which are associated with the ‘high’ that using marijuana offers.
  • The use of marijuana can alter the senses, such as making you see colors in a much brighter shade than what they are.
  • In the U.S, more than 94 million people have admitted that they have used marijuana at least once.
  • In the year 2007, 6.7 percent of the total marijuana users in that particular year were between the years 12 and 17.
  • In the year 2005, 242,200 emergency cases that were reported in the U.S involved the use of marijuana.
  • In cases where teens used marijuana before they turned 15, about 62 percent go on to start using and abusing cocaine by the time they are 26.
  • In cases where teens used marijuana before they turned 15, about nine percent go on to start using and abusing heroin at least once in their lifetime.
  • About 54 percent of those who have used marijuana before they turn 15 are more likely to use mind-altering prescription drugs in ways that are not medically approved.
  • The active ingredient found in marijuana, THC, remains in your body for at least a few weeks or even longer after you have used it.
  • The smoke caused from marijuana contains about 60 to 70 percent higher amounts of cancer-causing substances, as compared to tobacco.
  • The damage caused from one joint of marijuana can cause the same amount of damage to your lungs that you get when you smoke five cigarettes one after the other.
  • If you smoke marijuana over a period, it can lead to bronchitis, which is a type of inflammation of the respiratory tract.
  • Using marijuana can also change the structure of your sperm cells and make them deformed and damaged. The marijuana effects on teenagers are long lasting, leading to permanent damage and infertility issues.
  • When a teen girl uses marijuana, it can cause long-lasting damage to her menstrual cycle and upset it forever.
  • Marijuana is also one of the few drugs that can lead to an abnormal division of cells in your body. As a result, it can lead to extreme amounts of hereditary defects.
  • Contrary to popular belief, the use of marijuana is reducing among in teens and is not seen as fashionable anymore, as more and more teens are becoming aware of its health hazards.
  • The effects of using marijuana will not be the same for everyone. There are many factors that will decide on how it affects your body and your senses. Some factors that will affect the way marijuana affects you include: how lethal or strong the drug is, the way you are using it (whether smoking or otherwise) and whether you are combining it with other substances, such as alcohol or drugs, or taking it independently.
  • According to a U.S. survey in 2011, one in eight 8th graders, one in four 10th graders and one in three 12th graders had used marijuana in the year 2010.
  • The number of teens in 10th and 12th grades who use marijuana is almost double of the number of teens in the same grades who smoke regular tobacco [2].

[ Read: Risky Teen Behaviors ]

What Are The Effects Of Marijuana Use On Teens?

Using marijuana is rather dangerous and illegal as well. Here are some effects of marijuana on teens:

1. Extremely Addictive:

  • Your teen may feel that they will use marijuana only once or twice but then give it up. In fact, teens using marijuana find it rather addictive, and it can be extremely difficult to give up.
  • Of course, it is true that not all the teens who use marijuana can get addicted to it. There are various factors that also contribute to whether or not your teen is likely to get addicted. Some factors that may contribute to addiction after the use of marijuana will depend on factors such as family history, family genes, whether or not your teen uses other drugs and alcohol and so on.
  • Once your teen uses marijuana multiple times, it will mean that your teen will find it more and more difficult to give it up altogether. Also, once your teen experiences the effects of marijuana use, they may find it too relaxing and mood altering, which can make them want to use it more and lose control over stopping it.

2. Can Alter Levels Of Alertness:

  • The use of marijuana in teens can alter the levels of alertness and concentration. It will also make it difficult for your teen to be able to coordinate properly and to react to situations at the required time.
  • Marijuana will also make it difficult for your teen to observe spatial distances and understand or react to various signs and sounds on the road.
  • Also, if your teen uses marijuana even with a little amount of alcohol, it can greatly increase the risks and potential side effects.

3. Poor Academic Performance:

  • When your teen uses marijuana, it can have a negative impact on his memory skills, concentration abilities, learning ability, attention span and more. As a result, your teen will find it extremely difficult to grasp what is being taught in class, which will hamper his academic performance.
  • If your teen regularly uses marijuana, whether on a daily basis or a frequent basis, it can have a dimming effect on the brain.
  • As compared to teens that do not use marijuana, your teen will find it more difficult to cope with the academic course and pressures. Once your teen starts getting low grades or starts failing, it will create a negative impact on their overall self-confidence and can also be harmful to their self-image. As a result, it will make your teen more and more depressed and upset, which will further make it difficult for them to concentrate on studies.

4. Feelings Of Panic, Paranoia:

  • Marijuana use among teens can lead to feelings of panic and an increase in fear psychosis.
  • Your teen may suddenly start skipping regular events, especially as using marijuana can alter their psychotic levels and reaction. Your teen will feel disturbed and may start to panic at issues that are otherwise normal. Also, when your teen is in such a state, they will find it difficult to grasp reality and may not be able to respond well to any help that is offered.
  • The frequent use of marijuana, and sometimes, even an occasional use of marijuana, can lead to feelings of paranoia that can turn severe if your teen already has some other mental health issue. If your teen already has any mental illness, such as schizophrenia, the use of marijuana can worsen the psychotic symptoms that already exist. Also, if your teen uses marijuana while they already have some mental health issue, it can lead to long-lasting and even permanent psychosis [3].

Commonly Available Forms Of Marijuana:

As a parent, it is important for you to know about commonly available forms of marijuana that your teen can have access to. Here are some of the most commonly available types of marijuana:

1. In The Form Of Smoke:

While smoking marijuana, a user inhales a rolled up joint, pipe or a thing called a bong. A bong is like a portable version of the regular hookah. Your teen can also smoke marijuana in a paper wrapped joint, or in a wrapped tobacco leaf. This is probably the most dangerous form of taking the substance, as the burnt plant matter is what the user inhales.

[ Read: Effects Of Smoking On Teenagers ]

2. In The Form Of A Vaporizer:

With the advent of medical marijuana, to help treat terminally ill patients came the vaporizer. The vaporizer will heat any marijuana to a degree that will make the active ingredients in the marijuana turn into vapor while the user inhales these THC concentrated vapors.

3. Available As Tea:

Marijuana tea is the lesser of two evils, as it contains a low amount of THC as compared to the other forms. However, it still contains the active ingredient that can potentially harm your teen.

Peer pressure and the desire to look cool can often egg your teen on to try something like marijuana. However, make sure you tell your teen about the negative effects of using marijuana and keep your communication channels open with your teen. Remember, that as a parent, you do not need to fight this evil alone. Seek the help of a psychologist or counselor, who will be better equipped to assist you and your child to overcome this ordeal.

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