Marijuana is common among teens. In fact, millions of adolescents used marijuana for the first time in the past year. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug among teens, and while its often thought of as harmless, its long-term use has been linked to memory loss, poor motor coordination, and lung damage. It can also lead to dependence. adolescents to need drug abuse treatment.
Marijuana’s Effects on Teens
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive compound in marijuana. When a person uses the drug, THC passes into the bloodstream and is carried to the brain. Once there, it reacts with cannabinoid receptors located in areas of the brain that affect pleasure, memory, thinking, and concentration.
Because the brain continues to develop until at least the mid-20s, there are concerns about the effects of THC on a brain that is still developing. Studies on teen substance abuse have shown that:
- Regular marijuana use can lower a teen’s IQ by nearly six points before they reach adulthood
- The impact of marijuana on a teen’s cognitive development is more negative than the impact of alcohol
- Marijuana use may affect the shape, structure, and volume of a developing brain
- Regular marijuana use may reduce cognitive function in adolescents
An increased risk of lung cancer, heart attack, and respiratory issues are other health considerations related to smoking or vaping marijuana. Impaired driving and the development of mental health concerns are also risks to be aware of.
Marijuana use is liked to mental health disorders such as social anxiety, depression, temporary psychosis, and schizophrenia, according to the SAMHSA.
The Dangers of Normalizing Marijuana Use
The legalization of marijuana may have benefits, but this change in drug policy also has negative consequences for some people. Some experts are concerned that normalizing marijuana use lowers the perception of how much harm it can cause.
This may not only lead to more teens experimenting with the substance, but it may also lead parents to consider casual marijuana use to be harmless.
Parents and teens need to remember that even in states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, it is still illegal for minors. Legal consequences are one of marijuana’s effects on teens that should not be overlooked.
Does Your Child Need Teen Marijuana Abuse Treatment?
Rates of teen substance abuse have remained fairly steady over the last several years, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Being isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic made it more difficult for many teenagers to access substances such as marijuana.
However, teen mental health declined during the pandemic, and that could contribute to a future increase in teen substance abuse. Recognizing the signs of marijuana use will help you keep your teenage boy healthy.
Some of the warning signs include:
- Marijuana paraphernalia (glass pipes, vaping pens, rolling papers, small bags of “candy”)
- Red or bloodshot eyes
- Mood swings
- Increased appetite
- Musky smell on their body or clothes
- Slow movements, delayed reaction time
- Lack of ambition
- Skipping school
- Engaging with friends you’ve never met before
- Less interest in appearance or personal grooming
Many people believe marijuana is not addictive. However, a report published in JAMA Psychiatry estimates that approximately one-third of people who use marijuana develop marijuana use disorder. A drug abuse program for teens can help young people stop abusing marijuana and live up to their full potential.
Find Teen Marijuana Abuse Treatment at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery
If you’re concerned about marijuana’s effects on the teenage boys in your life, we encourage you to take action. Our teen marijuana abuse treatment program can help. Contact Foothills at Red Oak Recovery today at 866.300.5275 to learn more about marijuana’s effects on teens.