Marijuana Use

Teen Marijuana Use

There is a myth in Marin County that marijuana is a harmless natural substance. The perception of harm was cut in half with the medicalization of marijuana and now it has been legalized in California. Actually, marijuana is a powerful psychoactive and addictive substance that inhibits academic, social and brain development in teens.

Adolescence is a period of learning new skills that determines success as an adult. These include driving, dating, education, socializing, and working. At a time when youth are making important decisions and lifetime habits are being created, marijuana can rob them of motivation, clarity and vital brain structure.

People believe that youth will grow out of their use with few consequences. Most adults who have addiction problems begin using drugs and alcohol between the ages of 12-17. Marijuana can also endanger our children’s lives and futures; 40% of all car accidents involve marijuana. Please do not underestimate the impact of your child’s marijuana use.

Concerned about your teen’s marijuana use? Call us at: (415) 360-5445

Teen Solutions Therapy
Marin County

The Adverse Effects of Marijuana Abuse

Loss of a sense of time — Easily bored leading to poor school performance.
Impairs tracking (the ability to follow a moving ball).
Sedates, impairs judgement, and causes memory loss. Makes it difficult to perform tasks that require multiple and interactive actions such as driving a car or playing sports.
Causes temporary disruption of testosterone. That might be critical to a user with a hormonal imbalance or in the throes of puberty and sexual maturation. It leads to a slight decrease of organ size in males.
Damages lungs and breathing passages — 1 joint equals 14 to 16 cigarettes.
Persists in the body for up to six months after a single joint is smoked. These residual amounts may disrupt psychological functions for a longer period of time through their effect on brain neurotransmitters.
Slows learning and disrupts concentration. It has a specific effect on short-term memory and greatly impairs the ability to retain information. Long term memory is not impacted as much and is why some students can smoke and do OK in school.
Clinicians now use the term “Amotivational syndrome” for the lack of motivation that chronic users exhibit.
Chronic usage often develops for one of two reasons; as a shortcut to acquire a pleasing physical sensation or to counteract boredom or emotional pain.
This avoidance of uncomfortable situations impairs emotional and psychological development and maturation.
Marijuana is a “gateway” drug. Once it is seen as “safe” it is natural to experiment with other psychedelics, LSD, MDMA (Ecstasy), and Mushrooms. It is often followed by use of nicotine and openness to experiment with “hard” drugs.

Excerpted from Uppers. Downers. All Arounders. Physical and Mental Effects of Psychoactive Drugs by Darryl S. Inaba, Pharm.D. (2nd Edition)

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