Marijuana & Kids
Youth Risk Perceptions, Drug Use and the Cost to Our Future
Just as Big Tobacco did, the Big Marijuana industry is targeting kids and adolescents directly in order to create their new mainstream marketplace and ensure long term customers. According to the Monitoring the Future Survey, teen marijuana use is now higher than tobacco use for the first time in U.S. history.
This tells us we are sending the social message that marijuana use by teens is acceptable with low-risk associations.
Studies show that when young people perceive less risk involved in an activity, their participation in that activity increases. According to the Monitoring the Future Survey of 2013, 60% of high school seniors say that marijuana is not harmful.
Directly related to the social message that “marijuana is safe”, nearly 1/3 of high school seniors report smoking marijuana in the past year and 6.5% of high school seniors report they smoke marijuana daily.
Amongst other long-term damage, consistent adolescent marijuana use can cause a permanent IQ loss of up to 8 points. If you think that is minor, this can mean a child goes from the 50th percentile to the 29th percentile.
Consider these additional findings on the impact of marijuana in adolescent users:
- 17% increased risk for depression and anxiety
- Less school achievement and increased high school drop-out rates
- Increased risky sexual behaviors, such as not using a condom
- Psychologically and physically addictive with 1 in 6 adolescents developing Marijuana Dependence Syndrome
- Aggression and withdrawal that frequently includes restlessness, nervousness, agitation and insomnia
- Early onset of schizophrenia for adolescents is 2-3x higher
- Shortened time to psychosis and psychotic episodes is 40% higher
- Neuropsychological decline and cognitive decline that cannot be recovered
- Accidents are the leading cause of death for adolescents, and marijuana use predicts an increased risk of accidents by 30%, particularly when driving
- Marijuana has acute, sub-acute, and long-term effects on cognition and memory
- Directly impacts the corpus callosum, shrinking the part of the brain that allows the left-side to speak to the right-side.
Teen PolyDrug Use
One of the greatest risk factors is the practice of young people mixing substances that will likely have an adverse reaction once combined.
Taking two or more substances or drugs at one time, makes it poly-drug use.
Students, and even adults, who consume two or more substance (for example, prescription opioids, over-the-counter medications, marijuana, prescription stimulants such as Adderall, alcohol, etc) at the same time, increase their risk of harm to their body.
Indeed in the Monitoring the Futures Study, young people who report co-ingestion of opioids with other drugs were 4x more likely to report being drunk and 8x more likely to report abusing marijuana.
Poly-drug use should be a grave concern for parents of adolescents, school administrators seeking to keep a safe and drug-free learning environment and employers concerned about safety in the workplace.
Conspire! provides this needed discussion and much more through our trainings and seminars. We also offer discounted student drug tests.
Schedule your training with Conspire! in a setting that meets the needs of your school or youth group. We are here to help each young person live their best life.
Vape Pens Trending With Youth
While the safety of e-cigarettes is proving to be highly controversial, and the popularity of Vapor Pens is sky-rocketing, there is one thing we know for sure – both products are finding a niche market with teens.
Both products come with fruit-flavors, allowing young people to use them without being bothered by traditional smoke smell. Many schools are now writing policies to ban these products because the devices with oil chambers can easily be filled with hash oil.
This would allow users to get high without those around them noticing or being bothered by a smell of marijuana.
Often parents don’t realize cross-over products are easily accessible and concealable.
The bottom line here is, be aware and be alert. Know what is going on with your child and educate yourself about the pitfalls of allowing substance use behaviors amongst youth.
As an employer, marijuana also plays a roll on you and your employees and if you are unsure of these effects, visit the Understanding Marijuana page to learn more.