The adolescent brain, particularly the part of the brain that regulates complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making and social behavior, is not fully developed until about the age of 25. Developing brains are especially susceptible to all of the negative effects of drug use.
Research suggests that marijuana impairs critical thinking and memory functions during use and that these deficits persist for days after using.
Marijuana can be addictive. Repeated marijuana use can lead to addiction. Research shows that approximately 1 in 11 of those who use marijuana will become addicted. This rate increases to about 1 in 6 for those who start as teens.
The NJ Middle School Risk and Protective Factor Survey showed an increase in marijuana use for Cape May County 7th and 8th graders when comparing the 2010 and 2012 surveys. The Cape May County PRIDE Survey also showed an increase in marijuana use for Cape May County 9th and 11th graders when comparing the 2013 and 2015 surveys.
Regular use of marijuana has been linked to depression, anxiety, and a loss of drive or motivation, which means a loss of interest even in previously enjoyable activities.
Marijuana and driving do not mix. Marijuana negatively impacts a number of skills required for safe driving – alertness, concentration, coordination and reaction time – it is not safe to drive high or ride with someone who has been smoking.
Smoking THC-rich resins extracted from the marijuana plant is on the rise. Users call this practice dabbing. People are using various forms of these extracts. These extracts can deliver extremely large amounts of THC to users. Another danger is in preparing these extracts, which usually involves butane (lighter fluid). A number of people who have used butane to make extracts at home have caused fires and explosions and have been seriously burned.
Teens that choose to remain drug free report that their parents are the number one influence in their decision.
Research shows parents have a big influence on their teens, even when it doesn’t seem that way! So talk openly with your children and stay actively engaged in their lives.
Studies show that parents who talk to their children about drugs, and set and follow through with clear rules about drug use, have teens that are less likely to use drugs.
Tips for Parents
• Be a good listener.
• Give clear no-use messages about drugs and alcohol.
• Help your child deal with peer pressure to use drugs.
• Get to know your child’s friends and their parents.
• Monitor your child’s whereabouts.
• Supervise teen activities.
• Talk to your child often