Posts Tagged teen marijuana use
As more states welcome medical marijuana use, a recent study discovers that this rise in accepting cannabis for medical treatment does not lead to more teens getting high.
A group of researchers from Columbia University Medical Center in New York investigated more than 1 million records of teenagers spanning 24 years worth of data from a nationwide study to determine a potential link between legalization of medical marijuana in U.S. states and teenage marijuana use. “Our findings provide the strongest evidence to date that marijuana use by teenagers does not increase after a state legalises medical marijuana,” said study lead author Dr. Deborah Hasin via a news release. Surprisingly, states that did not legalize medical marijuana were found to have higher rates of teen marijuana use. “Rather, up to now, in the states that passed medical marijuana laws, adolescent marijuana use was already higher than in other states,” Hasin added.
Dr. Kevin Hill from Massachusetts’ McLean Hospital alcohol and drug abuse division wrote a commentary accompanying the study, which was published in the Lancet Psychiatry journal. “The growing body of research that includes this study suggests that medical marijuana laws do not increase adolescent use, and future decisions that states make about whether or not to enact medical marijuana laws should be at least partly guided by this evidence,” Hill said.
Although the state of Colorado allows medical marijuana distribution to patients with prescriptions, a recent incident highlights some restrictions to the bill.
Officials at Everitt Middle School confiscated medical marijuana from a teenager diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Fourteen-year-old student Jack Linn was allowed prescription of medical marijuana (in the form of cannabis oil) for his condition, but bringing it in school premises is not allowed by the school officials.
The school’s administration staff based its decision on federal law, which prohibits marijuana to be brought to schools and educational institutions. The confiscation occurred when Linn was found being treated with marijuana oil by his personal nurse on school grounds.
Stacey Linn, the teen’s mother, was furious with the incident, but blames the incorrect policy rather than the school implementing such federal restriction. “It’s outrageous. I’m not going to blame the school because they’re following a policy. I blame the policy. It scares me to death that medicine can be taken away from him. Medicine that saves his life,” Linn’s mother said in a news release.
The principal of Everitt Middle School said they will abide with federal law to avoid risk of losing financial support from the federal government.
If you are not yet startled by marijuana abuse by kids, this bit of news might shake your mindset and apathy.
Just a few weeks after research by New York University revealed the effect of alcohol and marijuana on high school seniors, a recent study showed that teenagers have a 60 percent likelihood to drop out of school when they use marijuana on a daily basis. According to the University of South Wales National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre in Australia, the results of their study could be used as a framework to reconsider legalizing marijuana.
The study based its findings on three earlier researches covering about 3,700 individuals, and looked into the behaviors and academic achievements of the respondents in cross reference to their drug use until they reached 30 years of age.
Study lead author Dr. Edmund Silins emphasized the importance of their study to government decisions in marijuana legalization measures. “The findings are timely given movement in some states in the US and Latin America to decriminalise marijuana, and there is also a movement here in Australia to decriminalise and legalise the drug for medicinal use,” said Dr. Silins in a news release. “Because our study has shown the potential harms of adolescent use, particularly heavy use, policy makers must be aware of this and reform efforts should be carefully considered to protect against this.”
Aside from the scholastic effect of marijuana on teens, the illicit drug was also linked to higher tendency to commit suicide and try other illegal substances.
Many parents are concerned about how legalizing the use and sale of marijuana may affect their children. Medical marijuana has been made legal in 21 states and the District of Columbia while recreational marijuana has been allowed for people who are at least 21 years old in Colorado and Washington.
Parents worry that their teenagers may have easier access to marijuana, which may increase the likelihood of today’s teens using them. This is a valid cause of concern, since teens are found to be using drugs at younger ages, when their bodies and brains are still on critical developmental stages.
A study that looked into 20 years of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance Survey gives parents a reason to let out a small sigh of relief.
Researchers compared the data in states that have legalized medical marijuana and data in neighboring states that haven’t. The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, found that marijuana legalization for medical purposes does not result in greater use of marijuana by teens. “There were no statistically significant differences in marijuana use before and after policy change for any state pairing,” writes lead author Dr. Esther Choo.
It still is a popular illicit drug among U.S. kids, but its use has remained steady before and after a state legalized marijuana. The estimates are based on self-reports given by over 11 million students through anonymous surveys.
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.