The stigma is strong when it comes to cannabis use in general, but more so when it is about how marijuana affects teens and adolescents.
Tons of commercials have been run on television and even online about how the effects are comparable to cocaine use… however, how marijuana affects teens and adolescents are not as unfavorable as most people would think.
For both, parent and teen, it is important to understand the pros and cons of using drugs, specifically how marijuana affects teens. Getting access to the right information has been a challenge up until now but luckily, thanks to the medical cannabis revolution, information about this drug has never been more accessible.
Before going further, it is important to note that marijuana use in teens and adolescents is not being encouraged.
This article aims to help educate both parent and child regarding this highly controversial and debatable topic. There are some potential ‘dangers’ when using the drug at a young age and as well as it is still illegal in many parts of the world.
Debunking Myths About How Marijuana Affects Teens
Pot, which is the name teens commonly refer to marijuana as, is generally safe. While it is still a drug, when used in moderation, it is probably the least dangerous of all the drugs out there.
Compared to downing a beer or taking a hit of MDMA , smoking or vaping your herbs would be A LOT better.
For many, the stigma is still very real when it comes to marijuana, it is considered even more harmful than alcohol or tobacco. However, compared to alcohol, tobacco, and even caffeine, it is actually proven that cannabis intake is the LEAST dangerous.
Research indicates that alcohol causes 88,000 deaths every year in the US, while cannabis causes zero.
As for tobacco, it causes 443,000 deaths per year in US. Other than deaths, both alcohol and tobacco are known to cause major diseases in the liver and various parts of the body and of course, cancer.
Cannabis research, on the other hand, shows no links to cancer or direct links to death at this stage. In fact, it can help treat cancer according to our research “Cannabis as a radical Treatment for Cancer”.
Professor Robin Room at the University of Melbourne has conducted extensive research on teen drug abuse. Professor Room says that the concern with alcohol is not only that casualty rates caused by it, are extremely high, but also that they are rising.
He is challenging the idea of how the current laws are serving our young people.
“… our laws on psychoactive substances may have channeled young people’s socializing and experimentation in a very harmful direction.
It’s time to rebalance laws, not only to cut down how much we are drinking but also to reconsider whether young experimenters and those around them, might be better off if the experiments were with another drug, such as cannabis.”
At the end of the day if teens are experimenting with marijuana, like any substance… if it is abused, then there will most certainly be harmful outcomes to the person.
What You Need to Know if Your Teen is Using Cannabis
Important information about cannabis you may not already know:
Contrary to popular belief, cannabis use in teens won’t make them dumb. While yes, there are effects that could make the teen forget about a few things or slow down, there is no scientific proof that it could decrease their IQ.
According to researchers at the University College London, there is nothing that could prove that marijuana is not safe for teens. The team quickly dispelled the previous study by saying that their research was a result of a “chicken-egg scenario.”
The study says that those who took marijuana at a young age were usually from unstable backgrounds, such as family problems or bullying. Their research basically outlines that it’s not really about the use of the drug, but rather their situations. It’s more about the driving factors rather than the use.
Going back, if the teen is dealing with personal issues like depression, it is noteworthy that marijuana has known effects of relaxation, which could help alleviate the condition. Given that it’s a relaxant, it could help the teen get in control of their emotions without getting rigid.
Marijuana also helps if one has a lack of motivation or sleep deprived, both of which are two of the biggest hurdles of any person dealing with depression deals with.
Don’t Blame it on Marijuana
Previous studies conducted showed that there is a decline in IQ for teens that used Marijuana on a regular basis. However, as I mentioned above, other researchers indicated that the study is flawed. The numbers conclude that external factors like family problems are bigger factors in terms of decreasing IQ. While we are talking about Cannabis use by adolescents, parents also have to assess why they are looking for it in the first place.
Above everything, what needs to be done is to encourage teens to be responsible for their actions – and that includes the use of drugs as well.
According to this fact sheet, some of the detrimental effects of marijuana use is the high risk of:
- Them leaving their home
- Increased sexual activity
- Tendency of criminal behavior
However, cannabis cannot be blamed for the actions.
It is important to keep pushing for responsible use, because like what they say, no drug should be abused. If they are dealing with mental issues, it is important for the teen to consider other solutions rather than just seeking refuge in the herb.
There are many other reasons why teens would make bad decisions and deeds, and their choice to turn to marijuana is only their way of seeking refuge from their personal issues.
Cannabis is Not the Gateway to Other Drugs
Parents fear that their teen’s use of cannabis may lead to the use of more dangerous drugs like cocaine and crystal meth. Many think that the herb is a “gateway drug,” meaning the teens may move onto heavier and more dangerous drugs. However, that’s not the case.
Again, teens usually turn to drugs because they are dealing with greater issues. At the end of the day, cannabis is not the cause or path towards heavy and varied drug use. It is merely a manifestation of deeper personal issues.
Education is What Matters the Most
One should be aware and educated about drugs whether you are a parent or a teen. Knowing the difference between marijuana and other drugs is essential. Understanding how marijuana can impact you, your body and your emotions can change the way you use it or if you use it at all.
It is not recommended that teenagers use marijuana, except for certain medical reasons.
It is not recommended parents provide their children marijuana not just because it is still illegal in many parts of the world, but because of the potential damage it can do to the child if abused.
Not knowing how marijuana affects teens can lead to the irresponsible use and other negative outcomes.
What’s more, marijuana does not have the same effect for every person, which is why a potential user should assess if the drug works within one’s grounds of expectations.
Talk to experts or regular users about the subject matter, and always keep in mind to do it moderately or to the extent that you can handle.