The Top Reasons Why Rise In Teen Pot Use Is Dangerous
It may be illegal, but some teens say that pot is as harmless as a swig of Red Bull. As a result of its innocuous rep, more and more teens are trying marijuana and surprised when they get hooked. The irony is that as teen pot use increases, so does the potency. It’s the perfect formula for teen addiction.
However, there are reasons behind this rise in use as well as why marijuana has become an increasingly dangerous substance.
The main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. It is this compound that binds to receptors in the brain that monitor pain, appetite, perception, and memory. It has been used for years to relax, improve mood, and decrease pain. It is known to enhance sensory experiences such as listening to music. It creates a strong euphoria or high.
However, THC also distorts the user’s perception of time and space, slows reaction time, clouds judgment and memory, and lowers IQ—even years after use. It is one of the leading causes of automobile accidents besides alcohol, and it encourages risky behavior such as promiscuity leading to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
But it doesn’t stop there. In recent years, THC has become more concentrated, making marijuana more potent than ever before. Drug chemists have discovered a way to manufacture synthetic marijuana, also known as K2 or Spice, which was legal until just a few months ago. Many teens believe that it is a safer version of marijuana, but it is, in fact, more dangerous than naturally grown marijuana because of the numerous synthetic chemicals it contains and the results are completely unpredictable. It often throws the user into a state of psychosis that is not easily released. Users have been known to behave dangerously, even suicidal and homicidal.
Despite the increase in toxicity, surveys show that teen perception of marijuana risk is decreasing, especially in the older age groups.
Approximately 46,000 students across the country were surveyed in the University of Michigan’s 2012 Monitoring the Future survey. From this, the following was revealed:
- Nearly 42% of eighth graders consider marijuana use harmful. This is the lowest number since 1991, which was the first year that eighth-graders were surveyed.
- Only 20% of high school seniors consider occasional marijuana use harmful. This is the lowest percentage since 1983.
- Over 6% of high school seniors smoke pot daily. This is an increase from 5.1% five years ago.
- Over 36% of high school seniors had smoked pot within the previous year.
Other drug use was down, including cigarettes, alcohol, Ecstasy and bath salts. Synthetic marijuana use stayed the same.
Studies show that marijuana can be a gateway drug, leading to heavier drug use as users seek out better highs. Today’s marijuana does even more so, and addiction experts encourage friends and family to talk about what marijuana can lead to and discourage a complacent attitude about it. By filling in curiosity with information, teens can avoid the life-long struggle with drug addiction.
The following are just basic reasons why teen pot use has grown increasingly dangerous.