Over the years, marijuana has become increasingly popular among society. Many people use marijuana as a way of coping with issues such as stress, anxiety, or peer pressure. There is now a higher rate of teenagers who have experimented or regularly use marijuana. The question is, what effect does marijuana use in teenagers have on their development? This question is important as it sheds light on how a brain that is developing normally can change when teenagers begin using marijuana.
Marijuana use has been shown to impair functions such as attention, memory, learning and decision-making. These are crucial areas in a developing teenager. Without attention, memory, and focus, grades will soon decline and a teenager who normally excelled in their studies will struggle to keep up. Studies have shown that those who smoke every day had a drop in IQ of at least 8 points. As they became adults, they continued to struggle with decision-making and memory as a result of marijuana use. Teenagers are eager to drive once they reach the legal age and just as drinking can cause accidents, so can marijuana use. A teenager who smokes before driving will not have the same attention as an individual who has not smoked. In some, marijuana can induce a calm, dreamlike feeling and when behind the wheel of a vehicle, this can lead to an accident that could have been prevented.
Sixty-percent of high school seniors believe marijuana is safe. Teenagers fail to realize that although they may not feel any negative effects, there is always a chance that side effects can occur with continued use. There is a dangerous type of marijuana on the market known as “spice” which is synthetic marijuana. Teenagers can smoke this type of marijuana without realizing because it looks identical to the real version. Spice is sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids and causes negative side effects such as hallucinations, paranoia, seizures, vomiting, blurred vision and severe anxiety. A teenager, especially one that has just started to use marijuana will fail to recognize the difference and their life can drastically change just one time after smoking. This type of marijuana tends to be present at concerts and music festivals but there is always a chance that your teenager’s friend might have this type of marijuana and innocently smoke it with them, not realizing the harm it can cause.
If you suspect that your teenager is smoking marijuana, talk to them without judgment. Teenagers will rebel if they feel they are being attacked by their loved ones. Many states have legalized marijuana but it still remains illegal in many states. One charge on a teenager’s record for possession of marijuana can stay on their record and affect anything they intend to do with their life. There are many parents who have smoked marijuana themselves but stopped. By telling your own story to your teenager, you will gain their trust, they will confide in you and ultimately it may lead them to rethink the decisions they are making. Peer-pressure is the number one reason why many teenagers try marijuana. Teenagers are in school nearly every day and are surrounded by people who may believe that drugs are OK. Your teenager may become interested or fascinated in this drug that many people are trying and start experimenting which is why it’s important to remind your child that they are in control of their own actions. Support is the key if parents want their teenagers to stray from trying marijuana. Without support, teenagers will turn to these types of drugs for comfort and as a coping mechanism for any issues that they are struggling with.