Teens and Marijuana Use

Marijuana use is prevalent among many young people in today’s society because of its easy accessibility, affordability, and low addictive qualities. Marijuana is often labeled the “gateway drug” because it serves as a transition to more dangerous and lethal drugs. Despite its very low risk for harm or danger, parents should talk to their teens about the negative effects of marijuana and always be aware of the warning signs.

So, how do you know that your child is involved with marijuana? Well, there are several signs to look for. After someone comes down from the “high”, he or she can become very sluggish and lethargic, making simple tasks like getting out of bed in the morning daunting. Another warning sign is that marijuana users may exhibit slow reaction time or slurred speech even days after doing the drug. The most obvious sign, of course, is the smell. Marijuana emits a very distinct odor when smoked. Keep in mind, however, that marijuana can also be ingested through brownies and candy that contain the drug.

Communication is Key

If you suspect that your child is under the influence of marijuana, then the best thing to do is to confront him or her as soon as possible. Even if you don’t suspect drug use, it’s still a good idea to have the talk so that you can be proactive instead of reactive. Approach the situation in a way that is assertive. Don’t be pushy or aggressive; this will cause your teen to become defensive or hostile. Assertive communication opens up the lines of communication without placing blame on others.

Knowing the best time and place to talk to your teen about marijuana is the key to having an open and honest discussion about drugs. A good time to talk is after dinner and after homework is completed. A good place to have the discussion is the living room; it is conducive to talking, and it’s spacious enough that the entire family can gather.

Avoid lecturing your teen about drug use. Instead, encourage your teen to ask questions about marijuana. Ask your teen about his or her goals in life. Tell him or her about how marijuana negatively affects the body, academic performance, memory, motivation, and the mind. Inform your loved one about how marijuana slows cognitive performance and destroys brain cells, potentially causing brain damage if done repeatedly. Whatever angle you choose to approach this topic, do so in a way that lets your teen know that you have his or her best interest in mind and that you care.

Marijuana, although not as potent as heroine or cocaine, can have a significant impact on every aspect of an adolescent’s life. Adolescence is hard enough without complicating it with drugs. It can rob your teen of experiencing true joy and success in life. If you’ve exhausted all other options and you feel like you’re at the end of your rope, there is help out there. The first step to helping your teen break the addiction and carve a better life is to contact your local drug rehab facility.

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