The Risks of Smoking Weed
Of all illegal psychoactive substances, cannabis – a few of its most common synonyms are weed, pot, and marijuana – has been used most frequently. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, some 52 percent of people ages 18 through 25 have tried weed at some point in their lives; 46 percent of people older than 25 years of age have tried the so-called devil’s lettuce, and a total of 44 percent of people older than 11 have used the drug.
There’s no disputing it – marijuana is commonly touted as a safe alternative to other drugs. While it doesn’t impair users anywhere near as much as alcohol, prescription pills, and most other drugs, marijuana definitely isn’t totally safe.
If your teen is using marijuana, don’t worry too much – it isn’t the end of the world. Also, unless you’re certain that your son or daughter is using marijuana – so sure that you’d bet your life on it – don’t jump to any conclusions.
Understanding how popular marijuana is in today’s world is important
For as long as statistics date back, the number of people who have consumed cannabis in the United States has risen. Statista shows that the above assertion holds true from 2009 to 2016, at the very least; 104.9 million people reported smoking marijuana at least one time in 2009, though the statistic skyrocketed to 118.5 million in 2016.
Cannabis contains over 100 cannabinoids, or chemicals that grow naturally in the green, leafy, psychoactive drug. The most prominent such cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC. Concentrations of THC in cannabis samples seized by the Drug Enforcement Agency have risen 200 percent from 1995 to 2014 – from just 4 percent to upwards of 12 percent.
More states than ever before have made the personal use of marijuana largely legal in various capacities. Starting in 1996, California set off a wildfire that helped establish medical marijuana laws. Today, some 29 states support legalized medical marijuana. 12 states have decriminalized small-time cannabis use and possession.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicated in 2013 that just short of 81 percent of all illicit psychoactive drug users consumed marijuana.
Here are several tried-and-true, verifiable risks of smoking cannabis
Smoking anything isn’t good for the lungs. As such, the more cannabis your teenager smokes, the more coughing, wheezing, congestion, and other respiratory problems he’ll have. However, don’t jump the gun – allergy flare-ups, sinus congestion, and tobacco smoking can all cause similar symptoms.
IQ tests are short for intelligence quotient tests. Measuring individuals’ brains’ capacities accurately is virtually impossible, though. Although IQ tests aren’t the most accurate measures in the world, they’re pretty much all we have; Duke University’s faculty found that people who began heavily smoking or otherwise consuming cannabis in their teenage years and perpetuate the excessive use of marijuana suffered from drops in intelligent quotient scores. This study found that those users dropped a net average above eight points. People who didn’t pick up the habit as teenagers but did begin using cannabis in adulthood didn’t similarly suffer from IQ score decreases.
Cannabis flowers, leaves, stems, seeds, and related paraphernalia are all illegal. Even though using marijuana isn’t morally corrupt or otherwise negative when used responsibly, many states still outlaw the recreational use of the leafy green substance. Countless countries around the globe do the same. Nobody thinks they will get caught with the above items in an illegal jurisdiction, though your teen’s future job search could seriously be hindered by an absent-minded marijuana conviction.
Schizophrenia is an often-serious mental disorder by which sufferers face general withdrawal from society, difficulty speaking, and lack of interest caused by seeing things that aren’t real, acting and speaking without organization, and delusions. Although psychological and pharmacological researchers don’t fully understand the complexities of how schizophrenia manifests itself in the human brain, research indicates that people who have any family history of psychological disorders or who haven’t tolerated psychoactive drugs well who smoke marijuana throughout adolescence – this definition of adolescence lasts until 25 in males and slightly younger in females – are more susceptible to facing schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or both issues. Marijuana use is directly related to the manifestation of these serious psychiatric disorders.
Don’t give up – there’s always hope for your teen
Although cannabis use might not seem like a serious concern, it certainly should be for parents. Beginning to smoke marijuana during adolescence can have lasting negative effects on the human brain; it’s better to stop your teen’s issues before they get out of hand.
Hillcrest Adolescent Treatment Center is a psychiatric and behavioral health treatment facility dedicated to helping teens through their substance abuse issues. Reach out to us at your earliest convenience to nip your teen’s marijuana use disorder in the bud.