Marijuana is perhaps the most commonly seen and referenced drug throughout today’s society, whether in film, music or conversation. When the majority of media-based references point to harmless fun, the severe nature of marijuana’s misuse, residual consequences and potential addiction are unrepresented. Contrary to what is often communicated, marijuana can be addictive. Studies show it is the most widely abused illicit drug and 25-50 percent of daily users who begin in their teens become addicted. The younger your teen starts experimenting with marijuana, the higher the chance of addiction.

Forms of Marijuana

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 50 percent of adolescents have used marijuana by high school graduation. With the growing number of states in which the sale of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational purposes is legal, adolescents have increased access to marijuana and its numerous forms of ingestion. Although widely used in the 1960’s and 70’s as a flower or bud which was dried and smoked, marijuana is now manufactured and sold in a variety of formats with varying levels of potency. It can be eaten as a chocolate, candy, cookie or brownie, vaped in liquid form through a vape pen, smoked or inhaled as a concentrated resin or “dab”, or even served as a liquid drink. Testing has shown that these formats are three to five times stronger than the marijuana smoked only a few decades ago. THC – the active ingredient in these products and the chemical responsible for the high – appears in the drug naturally in quantities under one percent; however, in adapted methods of marijuana growth, THC levels can be greater than 50 percent. These products are less visible and less detectable by law enforcement and thereby even more appealing to a younger or underage consumer.

Effects of Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana alters perception and causes serious cognitive and behavioral issues as the addiction continues. The following changes in the body’s physical and social functions can occur with marijuana dependence:

 

  • Long and short-term memory impairment
  • Reduced analytical thinking
  • Compromised motor coordination
  • Slower brain development
  • Paranoia and anxiety, potentially long-term
  • Increased risk of depression
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Increased thoughts of suicide
  • Social withdrawal
  • Changed perceptions in time
  • Interference with attention and focus in educational settings
  • Damaged lungs and breathing problems
  • Mood swings
  • Lack of attention to hygiene
  • Loss of appetite

Treating Marijuana Addiction

In 2011, statistics show that over 20% more adolescents were treated for marijuana use disorder than for alcohol use disorder. Adolescents may begin using marijuana in response to social pressures, a need to fit in, a desire to take risks, an attempt to numb feelings from a traumatic experience or to ease the stress caused by mental illness. At Stonewater, our experienced team seeks to understand the causes for each adolescent’s substance use and customize their treatment plans accordingly. Through individual therapy, group therapy, education and a myriad of experiential therapies, adolescents can learn to overcome psychological responses that trigger a desire for marijuana and other drugs through positive learned behaviors and a newfound purpose to pursue meaningful long term rewards.

Faith and experience come together to secure a purposeful future for your adolescent with the help of our dedicated team. Find out how Stonewater can work with your family to treat adolescent marijuana addiction today by calling the intake team at 662-259-8474.