Even though marijuana has been legalized in several states, that is no reason that your teenager should now feel that it is their right to embrace its use and now be free to use it. Many parents aren’t comfortable talking to their teenager about marijuana, or don’t know where to start. They may have their suspicions but aren’t sure how to initiate a conversation that will make a positive impact.
Signs Your Teenager May Be Using Marijuana
There are some common signs when it comes to teen marijuana use. Most parents will notice that their kid’s interest suddenly change. They may also notice that they start hanging out with the wrong crowd. Teenagers are volatile by nature, and changing friends doesn’t always mean they are now using drugs. It can be perfectly normal for this to happen in a natural and positive manner.
The most obvious sign is when you find a device, or your spot some marijuana itself. Here are some common paraphernalia items you will encounter:
The Basics Of Talking Marijuana
Marijuana is similar to alcohol, in that it can be abused, and it is not necessarily a good thing for teens especially, to be using at all. You would not say that it is now okay for him to go out and buy some beer. And then drink it at any time or any place that he wants.
Marijuana does have medical uses as it can ease pain in certain cancer cases, help in the treatment of glaucoma, and other medical situations. This does not mean, however that it is for everyone.
On the other hand, marijuana has side effects. It does cause an aberration with a person’s thinking, pleasure sensation, memory, perception of time and coordination. Alcohol has the same effect on people, so let that be a guide to what you would say to your teenager in this regard.
Young people tend to think in terms of black and white with no shades of gray. And when you restrict your teens from any activity, you are setting up a natural struggle. However, the parent must remember that they are the parent.
Teenagers think that they are indestructible and that nothing is every going to happen to them. But their judgment is just being formed and instead of exercising caution in many dangerous situations. They tend to go the other way. Add a factor such as marijuana to the equation and you are simply asking for trouble.
Teenagers brains are still developing during their teenage years, and they continue to develop well into their 20’s. Exposing a developing brain to marijuana has been proven to be a huge detriment to the teen’s brain development.
Studies have shown that a continued use of marijuana during teenage years doubles the risk of the teen developing symptoms of anxiety and depression. It also has the effect where the teen is three times as likely to have suicidal thoughts compared to his or her peers. There is also an increased risk of the teen suffering from schizophrenia in the later teen years.
Marijuana directly affects the teenager’s ability to process and grow normally in the areas of emotional development, academic abilities and interactions in a social setting. Marijuana directly affects the manner in which sensory information is processed by the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that has direct control over the learning and memory processes in the brain. It also has a lot to do with how memory and emotional maturity develop. The neurons, which are the electrical cells in the brain that transmit information, are depressed by the marijuana, and studies have shown that these effects are more permanent than temporary.
The most vulnerable area of the brain of a teenager that is yet to be fully developed is that of judgment. Marijuana use stops the development in this area to the extent of its use by the individual.
An even more sinister and damaging possibility is exhibited in numerous studies that show cannabinoids, or the ingredients in marijuana directly affect the chromosomes as well as the molecular structure of the DNA of an individual directly. Although this is spoken against by pro-marijuana proponents, there is enough scientific data to verify that this does occur and that marijuana is not to be trifled with.
It is one thing to have marijuana prescribed for medical purposes in an adult individual. It’s common for pain relief or relief from the effects of a major disease. But it is another matter altogether to have the DNA or chromosomes altered in a young person.
These studies illustrate that there are chromosomal breaks, translocations, deletions and errors in the chromosome segregation, These can affect the long-term health of a person as well as having an effect on that person’s offspring.
Be sure that your teenager knows all about these side effects of smoking and being around the smoke of marijuana.