Friday, June 24, 2011
What's So Bad About Marijuana?
Marijuana use has been increasing amongst teenagers for the past two years: 38% of High School Seniors acknowledged having used marijuana over the past year, according to the annual Monitoring the Future Study, conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan. What exactly does this mean for your teenager? First, marijuana use is not so harmless as teenagers would have you believe. The profound effects on motivation, social relatedness, memory, and decision-making ability are unquestioned. And your teenager's brain is still developing, making him or her even more vulnerable to the noxious effects of marijuana and other drugs, including alcohol. So, when your teenager says that the marijuana use if "just for fun,:" and "natural," you need to refute the idea that the drug is harmless. But you will also temper your assessment with a real risk assessment: how is your teenager functioning in school? In relationships? Health?Given the understanding that marijuana remains illegal, how much legal jeopardy is he or she in? You will need to fashion a plan for helping your teenager move forward in life: for some teenagers addicted to marijuana, a stay at an inpatient treatment center is necessary. (And yes, you can get addicted to marijuana!) For other marijuana users, however, meeting with an addiction-knowledgeable therapist suffices. The most important thing is to find out what exactly is happening with your marijuana-using teenager, and then respond to that, rather than the mere fact of marijuana use!