Not so harmless after all
Since marijuana is legal in some states and medical marijuana available in still more, many people may believe the substance can’t really be harmful. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that the less harmful teens perceive a drug to be, the more the use of that drug increases. The false sense of safety around marijuana is just that — false. There are many dangers related to marijuana use — especially for the developing teenage brain. And due to the popularity of vaping devices, teens have started vaping THC (the ingredient in marijuana that produces the high), with nearly 4% of 12th graders saying they vape THC daily.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. It’s usually smoked in a pipe or a cigarette. It can also be eaten.
What Is Marijuana Abuse?
The mind-altering ingredient in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and while concentrations of THC vary from source to source, the amount in marijuana has increased from an average of 4% in 1995 to 12% in 2014 due to the manipulating of plants while they are growing. This means today’s marijuana is more powerful — and more dangerous — than ever before.
As with other types of illicit drugs, marijuana abuse can lead to addiction. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, about one in every 11 marijuana users will become addicted. The difference between abuse and addiction is defined less by how often a person engages in an activity and more by how difficult it is for a person to cope without the activity or stop it for any length of time.
Negative Effects of Marijuana/THC
When marijuana enters your body, THC passes through your bloodstream to the brain where the chemical targets cannabinoid receptors. A large percentage of these receptive cells exist in the parts of the brain that influence memory, coordination, sensory perception, and thinking. Long-term use of marijuana can lead to serious complications including damage to the lungs, heart problems, a weaker immune system, and learning problems. Long-term mental complications can include paranoia, hallucinations, depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
Studies have shown decreased reaction time, impaired motor coordination, and increased motor vehicle accidents among marijuana users, and psychiatrically it can cause increased depression, anxiety, and psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia. In recent years, there has also been an increase in emergency room visits related to marijuana use. It is unknown whether this spike is due to increased use, increased potency of marijuana, or other factors.
Marijuana/THC by the Numbers
- Marijuana is the most commonly used psychotropic drug in the US after alcohol, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
- In 2018, more than 11.8 million young adults reported marijuana use in the past year.
- According to the Monitoring the Future survey, there was a significant increase in 2019 in daily use by students in younger grades.
- Teens’ perceptions of the risks of marijuana use have steadily declined over the past decade.
- In 2019, 11.8% of 8th graders reported marijuana use in the past year and 6.6% in the past month. Among 10th graders, 28.8% had used marijuana in the past year and 18.4% in the past month.
- 4% of 12th graders said they used marijuana daily or near-daily.
- Up to 50% of adolescents who use marijuana will continue to use as adults.
- Adolescents who use marijuana are 85 times more likely than non-users to develop cocaine addiction.
The mind-altering ingredient in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and while concentrations of THC vary from source to source, the amount in marijuana has increased from an average of 4% in 1995 to 12% in 2014 due to the manipulating of plants while they are growing.
Symptoms of Marijuana/THC Abuse
- Heightened awareness and sensations
- Elevated heart rate
- Increased appetite
- Mood changes
- Decreased coordination, concentration, or energy
- Difficulty solving problems, memory issues
- Trouble sleeping
Help for Marijuana/THC Addiction
If you or someone you love is struggling with marijuana or THC addiction, we’re here for you. Instead of a quick fix, our compassionate team of experts at The Meadows is waiting to help you begin your journey toward long-term recovery that focuses on the whole person by addressing any underlying mental health conditions that may be perpetuating marijuana abuse.
Our Admissions team is here to help 24 hours a day and is experienced in assisting others with compassion, dignity, and respect — hallmark values of The Meadows for more than 45 years. The Meadows’ Admissions Specialists are here to help you on your way to a healthier and more productive lifestyle. When you call, they will lead you through a series of questions to determine if The Meadows is a good fit, and how soon your treatment can begin. If you are interested in The Meadows for yourself or a loved one, call or fill out an admissions form today!