Marijuana and Teens: Side Effects and Risk of Using Marijuana by Teenagers

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If you had thought that managing your toddler was a big task then welcome to the harrowing world of teen parenting. Teens are secretive and reclusive by nature and that is why it is sometimes impossible to gauge their habits-especially the bad ones.

One of the biggest worries is of course is your teen getting addicted to marijuana. Sometimes you do not know about them or when you come to know of it, it is already pretty late. Starting from getting extremely addicted to the substance to poor academic performances, marijuana can hamper a teen’s life in more ways than one. Marijuana impacts your child’s nervous system and that is why addiction can impact his/her concentration level and overall alertness. Under extreme conditions the addition might lead to paranoia and psychosis in your kid. Your child can become a mental patient if he/she fails to overcome the addiction on time. That is why, as a parent, you must keep a close eye on your teen. (Van den Bree, 2005)

Now before we discuss some alarming facts (which you should tell your teen irrespective of whether or not he/she is addicted) let us see what all are the side effects of having marijuana amongst teens.

Marijuana Use in Teens: Things You Need to Know

effects of marijuana usage by teens

The risks of getting addicted or even having marijuana on a regular basis are tremendous amongst teenagers. They mostly consider it to be a cool thing to do with their buddies but the dangers can prove to be fatal.

Extreme addiction

Like all other forms of drugs the risk of extreme addiction to marijuana is quite alarming. Most of the teens think that they can use marijuana once or twice in their lives and then give up. However, the matter of fact is that it is very difficult to quit. But at the same time it is also not true that all the teens who try their hands at marijuana do get addicted to them. Actually there are various contributing factors determining the fact whether or not a teenager will get addicted to marijuana.

Some of these factors include family history, the genetic formation of the child, the home environment, and of course the fact whether the teen is already prone to addiction or not. Teens who are repeated users of marijuana often find it as an avenue to soothe and control their nerves. So, anxiety and restlessness are common side effects which compel the teens to have it more and more. As the marijuana starts to impact the mood of the child it becomes more challenging for them to have any kind of control over the substance and soon it turns into abuse.

Impacts the level of alertness

Marijuana has a deep impact on the overall nervous system of a teenager. It is known to impact the level of alertness and concentration level. It would not only impact the academic performances of your child but also at the same time it will hinder many physical abilities.

Like for instance your child will lack proper coordination and also at the same time will react to the stimuli at a slower pace than he/she usually used to. Marijuana will also make it challenging for your teen to gauge the spatial distances. It will make it difficult for him/her to understand the road signs and react accordingly. In that way, your child will put his/her life in danger whenever he/she will go out in the roads. (Van den Bree, 2005)

Along with marijuana if the teen is consuming even a tiny amount of alcohol then the risk of potential side-effects multiplies. So, once the teen is addicted to marijuana the margin of error is very slim.

Dropping grades

Horrible academic performance is another critical side effect of marijuana addiction. Marijuana is known to have adverse effect on the memory and concentration level. It also negatively impacts the learning ability and reduces the attention span by some extent. As a result your child might tend to drop his grades.

If your teenage child is extremely addicted to marijuana then it will gradually dry off his/her brain cells. Daily intake of marijuana impacts the brain by a great extent. The neurons tend to dry-up and then die eventually. (Volkow, 2014)

Compared to the teens who are not taking marijuana, the teens who are taking it will suffer more in their academics because their level of concentration and focus will drastically fall. Eventually they have a lower impact on the overall level of self-confidence.

This tends to make the teens depressed and withdrawn from his/her peers. With dropping grades and lack of confidence the kids might become more reclusive by nature. These are the classic traits of a marijuana addict.

Paranoia and Phobias

The next level of side-effects includes paranoia and phobias. The extensive use of marijuana amongst kids can lead fear psychosis. Your teen will show the tendency of missing out on regular events and show signs of serious mental health issues. (Volkow, 2014)

Your teen will always be irritable and might start panicking for the slightest of things. There will be an obvious change in their behavior. They might lose their overall grasp over reality. Their mental health will be affected and that might result into some serious issues.

Like for instance extensive use of marijuana can lead to depression and even schizophrenia, on occasions. That is why the addictions are considered to be very fatal in nature. (Cornelius, 2009)

Check out for the common sources

Considering the overall impact of marijuana on your child you must by all means check out for the obvious signs and the sources. Sniffing out the sources from your child’s room is very important as any prior indication can help your child from facing fatal consequences.

There are various forms in which marijuana can be sold to your teens:

In smoke form

One of the basic forms of marijuana consumption is in the form of smokes. The inhalers roll up joints or smoke from a pipe or a thing which is known as bong. Your teen can also smoke marijuana in paper wrapped joints. So, look out for these materials in and around your home. This is the most dangerous form by which your teens can intake marijuana. It directly affects the brain cells when taken in this form. . (Volkow, 2014)

In form of vaporizers

Marijuana can also be inhaled in form of vaporizers. However, these vaporized marijuana are mostly created for medical usage. But they often go to the wrong hands and end up in drug abuse.

In form of tea

Can be considered as lesser of the three evils but marijuana is also available in the form of tea. It impacts your teen less but nonetheless constant usage is sure to get him/her addicted to the substances.

Tips for parents

By now we know that the impact of marijuana is dangerous on your child. So, in order to protect your child from the harmful effects you must work in advance. These are the tips you can follow in order to make it happen:

  • Break the cool image of having drugs. Talk with your child that there is nothing attractive about being an addict.
  • Talk about the negative impacts of drug abuse via texts and videos. This you need to do when he/she is in pre-teens so that they already have a negative feeling about drugs in their minds.
  • Be clear about your stand that drugs will not be tolerated and any indication of it might lead to severe punishment.
  • Maintain a strong bond and communication with your child. It is difficult to be in constant touch with a teenager but try as much so at least the trust factor is present. Your child must trust you more than his/her peer.
  • If your child is trying to get out of the addiction then be encouraging and offer positive reinforcement. Reward him whenever he/she is overcoming the addiction step-by-step.
  • If you find out that one or more than one friend are involved in the process then make sure that you contact their parents too. Keeping the information of teenage addiction to you is a sin. Inform the parents and try and work out a solution together.

Conclusion

Teens are very private beings. It is very difficult as a parent to track down their habits. It is mainly peer pressure which pushes a teen to get into such addictions. That is why it is important for you to take a proactive part in the process.

Communicate the negative impact of marijuana and other drugs to your kids even when they are pre-teens and are susceptible to fall in a wrong kind of company. Teach them not to fall for peer pressure and absolutely nothing cool about taking drugs. Addictions might jeopardize your child’s mental health and the effects are mostly irreversible. That is the reason why you should be very vigilant whilst dealing with the matter.

Reference

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/208413

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmra1402309

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