The numbers are staggering. A recent report finds that teenagers are three and a half times more likely to have severe cannabis use disorder compared to adults. Even more concerning? This problem is likely to worsen as the number of U.S. states legalizing marijuana continues to grow. In fact, marijuana use among teens has risen to roughly 20 percent, according to a 2021 California study.
Experts are warning of the detrimental effects marijuana use has on the teenage brain, which does not finish developing and maturing until the mid-to-late 20s. According to the CDC, some of the negative effects of teen marijuana use include difficulty thinking and problem-solving, problems with memory and learning, reduced coordination, difficulty maintaining attention and problems with school and social life. Some of the risks also pose more serious threats such as the potential for addiction, impaired driving and an increased risk of mental health issues including depression. Weekly or frequent use of marijuana doubles a teen’s risk of having depression and anxiety, according to research from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Consequently, the use of marijuana among adolescents can become a tumultuous cycle. Teens are turning to marijuana to gain relief from difficult feelings including depression, anxiety, stress, sleep difficulties, problems with concentration and physical pain.
It is important that parents are made aware of these findings and have an honest conversation with their teens about the consequences of marijuana use among young people. It’s also worth noting that the potency of marijuana has quadrupled over the past couple of decades. Experts say the concentration of THC is far higher in today’s products, especially in vapes and edibles than it was in the past. This makes it difficult to determine THC doses and the contaminants which might be present in marijuana products.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has resources for parents to help educate you and your teen about the risks marijuana has on the developing brain. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addictive disorder, please call JBRC today. 609.345.2020