As the number of states legalize the medical use of marijuana and decriminalize recreational use of marijuana, it has become more and more common for marijuana to be viewed simply as a harmless substance.
One of the unintended consequences of the changes in the law is that teens who use marijuana on a regular basis use the changes in marijuana laws as proof that they will not experience any ill effects from their regular use of marijuana. They reason “if adults feel the use of marijuana is safe, it must also be safe for us to use.”
There is, clearly, not enough information being distributed to parents of teens about the problems associated with teens’ regular use of marijuana. And parents of teens often are not aware that the marijuana teens use today is much stronger than the marijuana teens were using 20 years ago.
According to Susan Weiss, Associate Director for Scientific Affairs at the National Institute for Drug Abuse, pot seized in raids now is 15 percent THC as compared to pot seized in earlier times that was 3 or 4 percent THC.
THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main mind altering ingredient in marijuana.
One of the most serious problems associated with teens who regularly use marijuana that is rarely discussed is amotivational syndrome. The mellow feeling that adults enjoy while using marijuana is what makes teenagers lose interest in studies and productive activities they formerly enjoyed and found stimulating. Teenagers who are chronic users of marijuana just check out of life during their developmental years when it is most important for them to be involved in life.
Chronic teenage users begin over the long term to feel all activities are better enjoyed while under the influence. Some lose the ability to enjoy the many small pleasures of life that non users enjoy and take for granted.
Chronic teenage users don’t set career goals. They spend their time discussing the funny things their friends did while under the influence, who can provide the best marijuana at the best possible price, and who has the best weekend parties.
Chronic teenage users don’t learn problem solving skills because they turn to marijuana when they encounter problems.
Chronic teenage users, who are socially awkward, don’t develop healthy social interacting skills because most of their socializing is done under the influence of marijuana. And, some chronic teenage users , as adults, may still interact socially as 13 and 14 year olds because that is the age they stopped developing social skills.
Depressed teenagers who use marijuana to self medicate their depression will over time become more depressed.
Chronic teenage users’ school grades typically fall over time because the THC stored in their brain negatively impacts their short term memory and their ability to focus in class.
Chronic teenage users party their way through high school doing the bare minimum needed to graduate and don’t realize until after high school graduation how ill equipped they are to succeed in the adult world.
Only too late, as their classmates who made better choices move forward with their lives, do the chronic users realize that the road they took during the critical high school years has lead them to a dead end.
It is important that parents of teenagers never take too lightly their teenagers use of marijuana.