According to surveys conducted teen marijuana use is steadily rising. The past three years have seen a marked increase in teens who admit smoking pot, and less of them disapprove of their friends habit. After a decline in the past the numbers have surged back up to what they were in 1998.
Percentage of Teen Marijuana Use
The surveys show that seventy-one percent of teens have friends who use the drug regularly, and only fifty-one percent believe the drug will cause them any harm. With medical marijuana debates across the country some are using the medical benefits as an excuse to indulge not realizing the dangers to their ongoing development. Since they consider themselves to be nearly adults the fact that their brains and bodies are still developing seems to be ignored.
Studies have shown that teen marijuana use can actually worsen depression and have a negative impact on academic scores and ambitions. Turning to even harder drugs is also a factor to be taken into consideration.
The debate rages as to whether teen marijuana use is a gateway to more dangerous drugs including abuse of prescription drugs. Many teens would not be tempted to use these other drugs if they were not made available to them by those they are getting their marijuana from is one argument. While the debate continues, studies have shown that teens who smoke marijuana regularly are thirty times more likely to try cocaine or crack, twenty times more likely to try ecstasy and fifteen times more likely to abuse pain pills.
Commercials about teen drug use show the family medicine cabinet as a potential resource for drug users, so keeping the prescription pills in a secure location is a good step to take to keep them out of the wrong hands.
Long Term Effects of Marijuana Abuse
Long term effects of teen marijuana use are still being studied and the data to date is alarming. Since most start in high school the impact on their grades and future options can be immense. Marijuana tends to decrease motivation and concentration in the user leading to poor grades. This will have a direct impact on college and career options that may be available.
Summer seems to be a more likely time for teens to start using the drug, according to the surveys completed. Parents need to be aware of the signs that their teen may be starting to use drugs of any kind. Sudden changes in mood and behavior are the early warning signs that can be easily mistaken for just being a teenager.
Moodiness and withdrawing from activities that were previously enjoyed are also warning bells for parents to look for. The choice of friends may change to include faces you have never seen before that are becoming fixtures in your teens life. All these can be a sign of teen marijuana use and need to be acted on by the parents.