Healthy Drug Free Colorado - Marijuana Legalization: A Bad Idea

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What Teens Need To Know

Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug used by teens today. Approximately 60 percent of the kids who use drugs use only marijuana. Of the 14.6 million marijuana users in 2002, approximately 4.8 million used it on 20 or more days in any given month. The marijuana that is available to teens today is much stronger than the marijuana that was available in the 1960's. Sometimes it is also laced with other, more potent drugs.   Source:

Marijuana is physically addictive

Each year, 100,000 teens are treated for marijuana dependence. Teens who smoke marijuana heavily experience much the same symptoms of withdrawal as users of nicotine.   Some claim that marijuana is totally non-addicting, while others say that it is just as addicting as other substances. Since the reasons for marijuana addiction among teens are unclear, it is impossible to assess whether or not they may become hooked until it has already happened. Research has now established that marijuana is addictive. Every year more teens enter treatment with the diagnosis of marijuana dependence than for all other illicit drugs combined. Sixty percent of teens admitted for drug treatment say marijuana is their primary drug of choice. 

Why teens start smoking marijuana

There are many reasons why some teens start smoking marijuana. Many kids start using because their older siblings or friends are consuming it in front of them. Often peer pressure plays a major role. Teens think it's cool to use marijuana; they see their favorite movie stars smoking it in movies and their favorite bands sing songs about it. The problem becomes more severe when teens start relying on marijuana and think that they need it to escape from problems at school, home life, or with friends.

Health Issues / Breathing Problems

Some of the signs teenagers exhibit when using marijuana are: dizziness and trouble walking, red bloodshot eyes, trouble remembering things that just happened, and they often appear silly and giggly for no apparent reason.  Some teens feel no effects from marijuana the first few times they smoke it. Others may feel relaxed and somewhat giddy. Quite often marijuana makes the teen feel very hungry and thirsty. Others can sometimes experience bad effects from marijuana. They may become highly paranoid or have feelings of anxiety or dizziness. 

Regular marijuana users often develop breathing problems, such as chronic coughing and wheezing. Marijuana contains the same cancer causing chemicals as tobacco. The amount of tar inhaled by marijuana smokers and the level of carbon monoxide absorbed by those who smoke marijuana are three to five times greater than among tobacco smokers. 

Pursuit of Pleasure and the Pain that Follows

The active ingredient in marijuana is THC (tetrahydrocannabinal). The behaviors exhibited by introducing THC to the brain are similar to those demonstrated by alcohol consumption. Marijuana can induce several emotional responses such as relaxation, introspection, feeling "in tune" with the world, and irrationality.   The teen drug abuser attempts to reconcile his basic urges with the demands of reality through the use of marijuana and other drugs. This behavior is directed toward the pursuit of pleasure and reduction of pain. If and when the teen seeks treatment, they are often underdeveloped emotionally, academically, and vocationally (Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, pg. 350).

The use of marijuana by teens can affect school, sports, and other activities; marijuana also affects memory, judgment, and perception. Teens who smoke marijuana on a regular basis start to lose interest in their appearance and how they are doing in school, at work, and at home.   The short-term effects of marijuana include memory problems, distorted perception, trouble problem solving, and loss of motor coordination. Marijuana has a strong odor that clings to teens' hair and clothing and can remain on their breath despite efforts to mask it. The reactive properties of marijuana aren't like other drugs. Not much is known for sure about the physical mechanisms of addiction and withdrawal.

Researchers have found that heavy marijuana use impairs teenagers' ability to retain information and concentrate. Regular marijuana use has been shown to be associated with poor academic performance. This is of a huge concern during teens' peak learning years, as their brains are still developing. There is an association between an increase in marijuana use and a decrease in the likelihood of attaining at least a high school education. Students who smoke marijuana are more than twice as likely to cut class that those who don't smoke. Teens get a mixed message about marijuana, but the message needs to be clear. Marijuana is an illegal substance that affects teens in many harmful ways.

It is very important to begin taking with kids about it by at least twelve years of age. Magazines or newspaper articles are often a good place to start your discussion about drugs. Teens need to be told clearly and often that using marijuana and other illegal substances carries significant health, safety, and legal risks (Kids using Marijuana).

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs is Deadly

Marijuana affects safe driving skills such as alertness, concentration, coordination and reaction time; it also makes it difficult to judge distances and react to signals and road signs.  Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse, "Research Report Series - Marijuana Abuse".

In fact, regular cannabis users were 9.5 time more likely to be involved in automobile accidents.  Source: Accident Analysis and Prevention.


More Hair With Marijuana Use
Females who use marijuana can, over time, increase levels of testosterone which can result in increased facial hair, body hair and acne.
Source: NE Communities Against Substance Abuse.  "Long-term use of marijuana may result in loss of facial hair for men and an increase in facial hair for women." Source: Monmouth University

Marijuana and Acne
One of the possible reasons for this is because of how marijuana affects testosterone levels.  Marijuana has been shown to cause testosterone levels to go way down below normal, but then to bounce back way up. Source: AcneAtoZ


Marijuana Facts For Teens

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