Posts Tagged teen marijuana use
Marijuana is the most widely abused drugs among teens and adults. It is often smoked as a cigarette or in a pipe or bong; sometimes ingested in the form of marijuana-laced cookie, candy, or drinks. If you are concerned your teenager might be using marijuana, there are several ways for you to know it aside from drug testing him/her.
Here are some of the telltale signs to look for:
1. Take note of your teen’s eyes. Marijuana use can immediately cause dilation of blood vessels in the eyes, thereby, making them bloodshot.
2. Observe your teen’s conversation pattern. Does s/he suddenly have difficulty conveying her/his ideas? Does s/he often lose track of her/his thoughts mid-sentence? Does s/he laugh uncontrollably or exhibit a sense of paranoia when talking? As a mind-altering drug, marijuana can cause short term memory loss, distorted perception, and trouble with thinking and problem solving.
3. Use your sense of smell. Teenagers will do everything to cover up their bad habit. Still, you can smell the distinctive odor of marijuana in your child’s clothing, car, or room. Also pay attention if your teen has suddenly started using air fresheners or scented candles more often than needed as this could indicate an attempt to mask marijuana’s smell
4. Look for drug paraphernalia in your teen’s room. This is perhaps the most intrusive way of checking whether your teen is into marijuana but it can help in saving your child from the dangers of substance abuse. Some things to look for are rolling papers, lighters, pipes, roach clips used for holding the burning end of a marijuana “joint.”
There’s another reason for parents to be alarmed with regards to teen marijuana use. Aside from the increasing number of kids hooked on pot, “heavy” marijuana use is also on the rise.
According to the report from the 23rd annual Partnership Attitude Tracking Study or PATS, adolescents who heavily take marijuana has reached 80% in the last few years after a steady decline within 10 years from 1998 to 2008.
Most of the increase in marijuana use was recorded among the boys and some minorities. On the average, about 10% of teenagers all over the country admit to smoking weed at least 20 times in the last month. This equates to more or less 1.5 million kids in America that light up marijuana.
Steve Pasierb, president of the Drugfree.org, explained that marijuana use is generally the starting point for kids that get into more dangerous substance abuse situations. “Ninety percent of all adult addicts started drug use in their teen years,” he said.
Thus the role of parents in the prevention of substance abuse is once again emphasized. Experts say that kids who learn about the dangers of substance abuse at home decrease their chances of drug use by as much as 50%.
Pasierb also reminded parents that despite the many who say marijuana use is a safer alternative to illicit drug use, there really isn’t any safe ground as far as substance abuse is concerned.
The existence of medical dispensaries may have somehow contributed to the increase in marijuana use among teens especially in California. This is why medical marijuana facilities are advised to dispense marijuana if, and only if, there is a valid medical condition that can only be addressed with the use of pot.
In California, patients are required to get their prescriptions for medical marijuana from legitimate doctors who will evaluate their condition.
Teenagers should be aware of the possible psychological effects of using marijuana. Recent studies have shown that marijuana users, especially teens, could develop schizophrenia or psychosis with continued use of the drug.
In a study conducted with nearly 2,000 teenager participants, those who smoked marijuana at least five times were twice as likely to develop psychosis in the next ten years or when they become young adults compared to those who did not use weed at all.
Psychosis is the condition when a person develops a pattern of unusual mental activities, such as believing in and talking to inanimate objects. Schizophrenia is a form of psychotic disorder which leads to loss of emotional expression and proper brain functions.
The risks become higher for teens who have parents or siblings who are already affected with schizophrenia or other psychotic problems. A normal teen with a family history of the psychotic disorder has a one out of ten chance of developing the condition as well. Teens who take marijuana dramatically double this rate.
To better illustrate the impact of pot on teens unaffected by psychosis or other mental disorders, chances of developing the mental abnormality is at 7 to 1,000. Smoking pot on a regular basis increases the risks making it 14 to 1,000.
In a study published in the Harvard Health Publication, studies on the effects of marijuana clearly has a long way to go. For instance, researchers may be able to account the active ingredient in pot, THC, as a factor which initiates chemical reactions in a user’s brain allowing the drug to have psychological and physical effects. Yet there isn’t a crystal clear explanation on how marijuana could lead a teen to be psychotic or schizophrenic later on in life.
In a latest survey conducted among teens in the United States, it has been noted that while tobacco and alcohol use declined among the youth, marijuana use increased.
Dr. Nora Volkow, who heads the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said that the decline in tobacco use among teens is welcome news. Yet the rate of its decline goes slower and slower over the years, and this could still be a concern for everybody. “This highlights the urgency of maintaining strong prevention efforts against teen smoking and of targeting other tobacco products,” Volkow said.
Survey results also confirmed that marijuana use among high school students has reached 25% in the past year compared to about 21% in 2007. The most troubling reality uncovered by the survey is the fact that daily marijuana use among senior high school students is at 7%. This percentage is by far the highest since 1981.
The rise in marijuana use could be due to the fact that mortality rates linked to marijuana use is by far much lower than reported tobacco fatalities. Smoking marijuana is perceived as much safer than cigarettes therefore more individuals are getting into the habit of pot smoking instead of cigarettes. What teens might be disregarding is that daily marijuana use leads to addiction which in turn could mean more serious conditions.
Alcohol use among teens is also on the decline. Reports regarding fatal cases on driving under the influence, higher risks for addiction and overdose, and violent reactions related to alcohol use have discouraged teens from alcohol abuse.
The 21st Annual Survey of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Use did not reveal encouraging statistics regarding marijuana use among teens in Indiana. While the number of students who consumed alcohol went down, those who admitted to using marijuana and smokeless tobacco went up, based on the survey results.
The study was conducted by the Indiana Prevention Resource Center (IPRC) at IU-Bloomington. The results, which were released on Wednesday, indicated an increase in reported marijuana use among 7th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th graders.
The survey was conducted among 168,801 students in both public and private schools in Indiana.
Courtney Stewart, a research associate at IPRC and coordinator of research and translation, shared: “I think what we have focused in on this year and last year is an increase in marijuana use… The good news is, we’re seeing an overall decrease in alcohol use.” Stewart attributed the decline to statewide programs that zeroed in on underage drinking: “I think the prevention programs in Indiana that are in place, they have been successful as far as alcohol use.”
The same thing could not be said, however, for marijuana use. Stewart gave the opinion that the upward trend and seeming popularity of marijuana may have stemmed from the attention being placed by the media on the legalization of medical pot: “It’s the perception of harm and risk… With medical marijuana, a lot of youth might think, ‘Hey, its OK, doctors are prescribing it. It’s OK to use it.’”
When states chose to legalize marijuana, adolescents automatically took the opportunity of using the drug. Kids now drink less and smoke less, but they do more of pot smoking, according to a feature on Wicked Local. This was the fact that Metro West faced as marijuana use in the area jumped from 20 percent to now almost 24 percent.
Wayland Cares substance abuse coalition director Heidi Heilman cites the lack of proper information dissemination about the harmful effects of marijuana, such as impaired brain development, has led to the increase in the statistics of teen marijuana use.
The results of an anonymous survey which features drug abuse in middle and high school students will be released to schools in the Metro West and Milford area to serve as basis for the creation or adjustment of policies to address the said growing problem.
While there may be drops in alcohol use and smoking in middle school, marijuana use is on the rise. Senior Program officer Rebecca Donham states that kids think marijuana is now legal, and that using it in small amounts is no longer a criminal offense. There are also a lot of misunderstanding and parent ambivalence with regards to substance abuse whose effects are not immediately seen. Due to partial legalization of marijuana, there exists confusion about some laws governing it and the need for revisions to accommodate its being a legalized drug.