Thursday, November 17, 2011

Teens and Marijuana: Why Parents Should not Ignore

Daily marijuana use among young adults is at its highest levels since 1991. A national survey released in October shows that 17 million Americans — mostly teens or young adults — used pot in 2010. About 40% of those used it on 20 or more days in the past month, up from 36.7% in 2009.

The director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Nora Volkow, recently stated that “roughly one out of 10 people who try marijuana get addicted" and "young users were more vulnerable than older ones”. She also stated that because research hasn’t been able to identify the underlying reasons why some individuals become addicted and some don’t, it is safer to avoid the substance and its potential dangers. Furthermore, Volkow blames medicinal marijuana for undermining the serious side effects of marijuana by portraying it as beneficial to one’s health. Additionally, Volkow believes that “hearing about the medicinal benefits of marijuana makes people think it must not be harmful”.

Peter Delany of the Substance Abuse and Mental health Administration believes that marijuana has become the biggest drug problem in the United States considering how the number of its users has more than doubled in the past decade.

The media also plays an important role in decreasing the social stigma attached to marijuana by portraying it “cool” and “commonly used by every top athlete and celebrity”.

The widespread ignorance by teens (and some of  their parents) and  the media's general failure is to distinguish between adolescents and adults when they report on marijuana use and its dangers. When you're young and the body is still growing, marijuana actually has the potential of inflicting a long-lasting, negative impact on the developing brain. In addition, using marijuana at a young age can result in structural and functional deficits of the brain. This could develop weakened verbal and communication skills, lowered learning capabilities and a shortened attention span.

Parents concerned about their impressionable teenagers can get involved by monitoring their teen’s circle of friends and openly communicating about the dangerous side effects of marijuana that is rarely discussed in the media.

For more information on teen marijuana abuse and teen marijuana addiction treatment, visit Inspirations for Youth and Families.

Addiction and Behavior Treatment for Teens: 1-888-757-6237

Addiction Treatment for adults and young adults: 1-888-387-6237

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