Teens on Drugs

Teens+on+Drugs

Megan Dinkins

Teens on Drugs

By: Megan Dinkins

 

“When I was in high school, marijuana was an illegal drug. That was before marijuana was proved to have many beneficial health factors,” says Blythewood teacher Lisa Ellis. Times are changing. Just from 2012 to 2013 there was an increase of 1,439,000 teens over the age of 12 that began smoking marijuana. So why is this?

 

As more states legalize the use of marijuana, more teens begin using it. 10 states in the US have fully legalized cannabis according to disa.com.

 

“I like how it feels,” states an anonymous teenager. According to Health Line, a marijuana high can vary from person to person, but people typically feel “happy or relaxed.” Teens are drawn to this relaxed feeling and begin to smoke more often. Mentalhelp.net says that teens are smoking to cope with boredom. Instead of turning to video games or going outside to ease their boredom, they turn to smoking weed.

 

Verywellmind.com states that 23% of teens smoked weed in 2017. Though so many teenagers smoke weed, they don’t know much about the effects. According to mentalhelp.net, smoking pot can result in weakened memory and increased aggression. Other effects include difficulties in school such as decreased concentration and memory, risky sexual behavior, and even a risk of psychosis. Cdc.gov also says that marijuana can lead to decreased focus and impaired coordination. All of these effects are long term leading to lifelong problems.

 

Past the mental effects marijuana has on teens, there are also many physical effects. According to HHS.gov, marijuana use can lead to respiratory issues, testicular cancer, and a weakened immune system. Some of these effects can even result in death.

 

Due to these effects, some teens choose to stay away from smoking pot. An anonymous student states, “I don’t smoke pot because of the long term effects.” Typically when teens don’t want to smoke it is because of the long term effects, but in some cases specific teens aren’t entertained by the idea of smoking weed. “There was never any curiosity towards smoking for me. I was always kind of scared of it,” states a student who would like to remain anonymous. Not all teens are interested in smoking weed, but what about the teens that use it to cope with mental disorders?

 

Some teens use marijuana as relief for disorders like depression and anxiety. A February 2015 study by researchers at the University of Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions found that the chemical compounds of endocannabinoids, the chemical in your brain that controls things like pain, appetite, stress, sleep, and more, are also found in marijuana. This revealed that cannabis is an effective form of treatment for depression.