- Know the Risks of Marijuana
- Marijuana Risks
- Marijuana Addiction
- About Marijuana
- Rise of Marijuana Use
- Get the Files
- Marijuana: What Parents Need to Know
- Short-Term Effects
- Long-Term Effects
- Other Problems
- Medical Use of Marijuana
- What's It to Quit?
- How to Tell Your Child is Smoking Weed
- Physical Signs
- Behavior Changes
- What Weed Looks in Various Forms
- Common Hiding Spots for Parents to Check
- My Child is Smoking Pot, Now What?
- From Abuse to Addiction: How to Know if Your Child is Addicted to Weed
- Think Your Child is Smoking Weed? Here’s What You Can Do Now
Know the Risks of Marijuana
Marijuana use comes with real risks that can impact a person’s health and life.
- Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal substance in the U.S. and its use is growing. Marijuana use among all adult age groups, both sexes, and pregnant women is going up. At the same time, the perception of how harmful marijuana use can be is declining. Increasingly, young people today do not consider marijuana use a risky behavior.But there are real risks for people who use marijuana, especially youth and young adults, and women who are pregnant or nursing. Today’s marijuana is stronger than ever before. People can and do become addicted to marijuana.Approximately 1 in 10 people who use marijuana will become addicted. When they start before age 18, the rate of addiction rises to 1 in 6.
Marijuana use can have negative and long-term effects:Brain health: Marijuana can cause permanent IQ loss of as much as 8 points when people start using it at a young age. These IQ points do not come back, even after quitting marijuana.Mental health: Studies link marijuana use to depression, anxiety, suicide planning, and psychotic episodes. It is not known, however, if marijuana use is the cause of these conditions.Athletic Performance: Research shows that marijuana affects timing, movement, and coordination, which can harm athletic performance.Driving: People who drive under the influence of marijuana can experience dangerous effects: slower reactions, lane weaving, decreased coordination, and difficulty reacting to signals and sounds on the road.Baby’s health and development: Marijuana use during pregnancy may cause fetal growth restriction, premature birth, stillbirth, and problems with brain development, resulting in hyperactivity and poor cognitive function. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other chemicals from marijuana can also be passed from a mother to her baby through breast milk, further impacting a child’s healthy development.Daily life: Using marijuana can affect performance and how well people do in life. Research shows that people who use marijuana are more ly to have relationship problems, worse educational outcomes, lower career achievement, and reduced life satisfaction.
- Marijuana use during pregnancy can be harmful to a baby’s health and cause many serious problems.
- How much do you really want to know about the risks of marijuana? You might be surprised.
Contrary to popular belief, marijuana is addictive. Research shows that:
- 1-in-6 people who start using the drug before the age of 18 can become addicted.
- 1-in-10 adults who use the drug can become addicted.
Over the past few decades, the amount of THC in marijuana has steadily climbed; today's marijuana has three times the concentration of THC compared to 25 years ago.
The higher the THC amount, the stronger the effects on the brain—ly contributing to increased rates of marijuana-related emergency room visits.
While there is no research yet on how higher potency affects the long-term risks of marijuana use, more THC is ly to lead to higher rates of dependency and addiction.
Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant. Marijuana is a psychoactive drug that contains close to 500 chemicals, including THC, a mind-altering compound that causes harmful health effects.
People smoke marijuana in hand-rolled cigarettes, in pipes or water pipes, in blunts, and by using vaporizers that pull THC from the marijuana. Marijuana can also be mixed in food (edibles), such as brownies, cookies, and candy, or brewed as a tea. People also smoke or eat different forms of marijuana extracts, which deliver a large amount of THC and can be potentially more dangerous.
Rise of Marijuana Use
Today, marijuana use is on the rise among all adult age groups, both sexes, and pregnant women. People ages 18-25 have the highest rate of use.
Marijuana and THC remain illegal at the federal level, even though many states have legalized its use. In states where legal, marijuana is a fast-growing industry with sales to individuals over 21 in retail stores, wineries, breweries, coffee shops, dispensaries, online, as well as grown at home.
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Marijuana: What Parents Need to Know
Marijuana is a shredded, green-brown mix of dried flowers, stems, and leaves from the plant Cannabis sativa. A stronger form of marijuana, called hashish (hash), looks brown or black cakes or balls. The amount of THC (the active ingredient) in marijuana and marijuana products has increased greatly over the years.
Marijuana is usually rolled and smoked a cigarette (joints or doobies), or put in hollowed-out cigars (blunts), pipes (bowls), or water pipes (bongs). Recently, it has become increasingly popular for people to inhale marijuana or stronger marijuana extracts using a vaporizer (called «vaping» or «dabbing»). Some people mix it into food or brew it as a tea.
There is also «synthetic marijuana» — manmade drugs that are chemically similar to THC — that can be dangerously strong. Names for these drugs include «K2,» «Spice,» and «Herbal Incense.» They can be so potent that overdose deaths have happened.
The main active chemical in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). When someone smokes marijuana, THC goes from the lungs into the bloodstream. From there, it ends up in the brain and other organs.
THC connects with a receptor on nerve cells in the brain. The marijuana «high» results from THC's effects on the nerve cells that control sensory perception and pleasure.
THC also connects with receptors on nerve cells in other parts of the brain that affect thinking, memory, coordination, and concentration. This can cause unwanted side effects, including:
- trouble thinking and problem solving
- problems with memory and learning
- loss of coordination
- distorted perception
These side effects are temporary, but they can make it dangerous to do things drive while under the influence of marijuana.
People also might notice other short-term side effects of using marijuana, such as:
- an increased appetite
- feeling lightheaded or drowsy
- a decrease in inhibitions
Research has found that people who use marijuana over a long period of time can have more lasting side effects. For example:
Changes in the brain. Marijuana can affect the parts of the brain that play a role in our ability to remember, multitask, and pay attention.
Fertility issues. Animal studies suggest that using a lot of marijuana might be linked to decreased sperm count in men and delayed ovulation in women. Pregnant women who use marijuana might be more ly to have babies with developmental and behavioral problems.
Respiratory problems. People who smoke marijuana a lot can develop problems with the respiratory system — more mucus, a chronic cough, and bronchitis.
Immune system problems. Using marijuana a lot might make it harder for the body to fight off infections.
Emotional problems. People who use a lot of marijuana are more ly to say they notice signs of depression or anxiety. If someone has a condition schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, marijuana can sometimes make symptoms worse.
Here are a few ways marijuana use could affect your child:
Criminal charges. Marijuana laws can be confusing. Some states are changing their laws to make it legal to have small amounts of marijuana in some situations ( when it's prescribed for medical use).
Some have even made recreational use of marijuana by adults (over 21) legal.
But there are conflicting federal laws against using, growing, or selling marijuana — and people caught with it could face charges, including jail time.
Career problems. People charged under marijuana laws may end up with criminal records that hurt their plans for college or finding a job.
Drug testing. These days, employers often test for drug use as part of the hiring process. Marijuana can show up on a drug test for several weeks after it was last used. So people who use marijuana may find they don't get a job they want. Some companies do routine drug tests on employees, so people who use marijuana can lose their jobs.
Medical Use of Marijuana
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved pills containing THC or other cannabinoids (chemicals similar to THC) as a way to help relieve pain, nausea, muscle stiffness, or problems with movement.
There's still a lot of discussion about the medical use of marijuana, though. THC and other cannabinoid pills are only available in some states and require a doctor's prescription.
At the moment, there's not enough research to say for sure if smoking marijuana is any more helpful than taking THC or other cannabinoids as a pill. Scientists are still studying this.
What's It to Quit?
People who use marijuana for a while can have withdrawal symptoms when they try to give it up. They may feel irritable, anxious, or depressed; have trouble sleeping; or not feel eating.
Marijuana withdrawal can be a bit caffeine withdrawal: It's usually worse a day or two after someone stops using marijuana. After that, withdrawal symptoms gradually decrease. They're usually gone a week or two after the person no longer uses the drug.
Marijuana can be addictive. About 1 in 10 people who use the drug regularly can develop a «marijuana use disorder.» These people can't stop using marijuana even though it causing problems in their lives. This is much more ly to happen in people who start using marijuana before age 18.
Studies suggest that a combination of individual counseling and group therapy sessions is the best approach for stopping marijuana use.
How to Tell Your Child is Smoking Weed
Marijuana is often one of the first substances a person experiments with. Weed is one of the most accessible drugs today and with a changing legal status, the drug is easier to acquire than ever before.
any substance, use of weed has the potential to lead to dependency and addiction.
While many discussions about marijuana use intend to paint a positive picture, marijuana largely remains a drug that changes the way a person behaves, as well as their interactions with those around them.
As a parent, you are often the first to notice changes in your child’s behaviors, and you may suspect that substance abuse is at the root of it. In this article, we will explore the most common signs of marijuana use, what it looks in various forms & common hiding spots, and Learn the Signs: How to Tell if Someone is Smoking Weed
There are numerous telltale signs that someone is smoking marijuana. From physical symptoms to behavioral changes, use of weed is generally not discreet and your child may go above and beyond to conceal it from you.
- One of the most common indicators of marijuana use is red eyes. You may notice your child keeps eye drops, which may be used to conceal this side effect.
- If your child smokes marijuana, you may notice small burns on the ends of their fingers. This usually happens when someone smokes a joint to the very end.
- If your child is suddenly using mouthwash, different body sprays, or other products such as air fresheners, they may be smoking weed. Marijuana has a very distinct, pungent smell, and many will use these products to cover it.
- Take this quiz to determine if your son or daughter is showing the telltale signs of drug abuse.
- Marijuana is known to make users become more lethargic. This may manifest as them no longer taking an interest in activities they once enjoyed or seeming depressed or isolated.
- Using weed can also cause your child’s academic performance to drop.
With decreased engagement and interest in other activities, your child’s grades or work ethic may begin to shift.
- Changes in who your child spends their time with is also a major clue. If your child ditches long-term good friends for objectionable people, it may be a sign that they are experimenting with drugs.
You may also notice your child’s language change; they may speak in code or become more secretive when they suspect you are around.
Marijuana comes in a variety of forms. Depending on the way your child uses it, you may find various forms of paraphernalia. This may include:
- Rolling papers: Thin, lightweight, white paper used for hand-rolled cigarettes or joints. They often come in small, long rectangular packs of several cigarette-size sheets, often folded inside a cardboard wrapper.
- Bongs: or water pipes can be plastic or glass. They usually have a removable piece or “bowl” that holds the marijuana or tobacco and a larger body where the water is added. They come in all sizes.
- Pipes: smaller and more portable glass or plastic pipes. There is usually a visible hole or “bowl” where the marijuana is placed.
- Edibles such as brownies or cookies: edibles come in various shapes and sizes. They are actual brownies, cookies, or candies that are baked with THC.
- Vapes or Vaporizors: some, not all, vaporizors are designed for smoking wax which contains a more concentrated form of THC. These vapes may appear other nicotine vaporizers but most juice bottles will have the level of THC printed on them if they contain in.
What Weed Looks in Various Forms
Marijuana can be smoked or consumed through a food or beverage. Here are some of the most common forms of consumption you may encounter:
- Marijuana is a plant- you may find stems, seeds, or grassy-looking substances
- Marijuana can also be infused with tea so what may appear to be tea leaves could actually be weed
- Weed is also consumed in edibles which are usually in dessert form – the most common edibles you may encounter are brownies or cookies
- Some may use wax: a resin that contains high concentrations of THC – this is usually a yellow, hard substance that is melted down and smoked
Common Hiding Spots for Parents to Check
Your child will try to conceal marijuana use through a variety of means.
- They may go for long walks or block cracks in bedroom doors to prevent smoke from spreading in the house
- There are countless places your child could hide weed, but some of the most common locations include:
- Underneath the mattress
- In small boxes, such as jewelry boxes
- In their car: to keep it the house, young adults may store it the center console, their gym back, trunks etc.
- In their backpack
- Behind furniture
- Battery hatch: check inside the battery hatch of teen’s electronics alarm clocks, stereos, etc.
- Highlighters: some young people are hollowing out highlighters to hide their stash
- Deodorant sticks: some may hallow out the tube and hide their weed there
- Inside the closet:they could be hiding it in a box or in a specific place or even inside of their clothes
- Outside the House: If you suspect the symptoms of marijuana use and abuse remember that your son or daughter may be stashing their weed outside the house to try and keep it hidden from you or other family members. Checking the car, gym bags etc may be another place to start.
My Child is Smoking Pot, Now What?
Once you have confirmed your suspicions, you can begin to formulate a plan to move forward. Intervening early in substance abuse is critical in ensuring your child receives appropriate care. It may be difficult to know how to proceed, but there are several steps you should take:
- When appropriate, talk to your child: If they seem to be open and willing to discuss, the first is reaching out to your child. Depending on the nature of their addiction and your relationship with them, you can approach this in a number of ways. In some cases, having a frank conversation with them can help you broach the topic. In other instances, an intervention may be necessary. Starting the conversation is critical in helping your child realize they may have a problem and work towards getting the help they need.
- Contact a professional: Regardless of the degree of care your child requires, working with a professional to determine your next steps can make the process much easier. Those who work in the treatment world can help connect you with resources and evaluate your individual circumstances to make a recommendation. With so many options available, it can be difficult to navigate the road to recovery alone. A professional can remove some of the apprehension or anxiety you feel moving forward in your child’s treatment by providing you with unbiased treatment options.
- Offer resources: In addition to working with a professional, you can also offer additional resources to help support your child. Resources can range from changing the way your home operates to reinforce sobriety, to helping your child connect with resources such as group meetings or extracurricular activities. Finding ways to engage with your child in significant ways can help them replace the time used to get high with more meaningful interests. This both helps your child reestablish their identity and learn to enjoy sobriety.
From Abuse to Addiction: How to Know if Your Child is Addicted to Weed
Substance abuse does not always turn into addiction. In certain cases, some people are able to experiment with drugs and never develop a dependency. Marijuana tends to be popularly represented as a substance you cannot become addicted to; however, many find themselves relying on the drug to even feel normal.
If you observe that your child tends to be under the influence most of the time, they may rely on weed to get through the day. Many will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms without it.
Symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, insomnia, or feelings of depression can all be indicators that an addiction has formed. In some cases, a person may experience more physical symptoms such as stomach aches, fever, chills, and headaches.
Using weed quiets these symptoms, making a person more reliant on it.
Withdrawal from marijuana is generally not life-threatening, but it can be uncomfortable.
In some cases, feelings of depression or agitation could cause a person to put themselves in a dangerous situation.
Even if you feel that marijuana addiction is not as dangerous as another illicit substance, the experience of withdrawal can have very different effects on individuals, making it especially important to enlist the help of professionals when starting the recovery process.
Medical professionals are able to help make the withdrawal process as comfortable as possible while simultaneously removing the influence of enabling peers and environments.
Think Your Child is Smoking Weed? Here’s What You Can Do Now
If you feel confident your child might be struggling with marijuana, learn more about treatment options for weed addiction. If you’re ready to find out how Sober College can help your child get back to living up to their full potential, fill out a contact form and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.