Marijuana and adolescents… I live in Nevada and it is now legal to use marijuana for both recreational and medical use.
How prevalent is marijuana use? 5.4% of 8th graders, 14% of 10th graders and 22% of 12th graders have used marijuana at least once in the past month. Marijuana is second most-used substance after alcohol for adolescents.
Adults may view marijuana use as benign or not harmful, but there are major concerns about use in adolescents. Regular or heavy or daily use of marijuana can lead to adverse medial, mental, psychosocial and cognitive outcomes. Brain maturation is not complete until the mid-20s. Negative outcomes can include
- delayed reaction time,
- impaired motor coordination,
- higher rates of serious or fatal motor vehicle crashes,
- poor work and school performance,
- increased school dropout rates,
- and anxiety.
- Those with a predisposition to schizophrenia can have their first episode of hallucination associated with marijuana-use.
What is the risk of chronic marijuana use? It increases the younger that marijuana is started. Those adolescents who use marijuana daily, the risk of long-term use is 25-50%. Whereas there is a 9% regular use in those who experiment with it.
There is a lack of regulation by the US Food and Drug Administration regarding marijuana… so purity, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) concentration and CBD (cannabidiol) concentrations are different with each batch. Also, the method for which it is ingested changes its effect: eaten, drank, topical administration, vaped or smoked. The concentration of THC (the psychoactive substance in marijuana plant) has increased greatly over the years: 4% in 1995 to 12% in 2014.
Talk with your children about the dangers of marijuana use. Consider stopping yourself. Ask your physician for help.