Treatment for Teen Marijuana Use
Teenage experimentation isn't a new concept, and that includes the consistent popularity of marijuana. Easy to buy, use, and even grow, pot is almost always the initial drug of choice for teens in need of an outlet.
Marijuana has a variable reputation, especially now as the laws are changing rapidly around the country. Illegal nationwide just a decade ago, this plant-based substance is now legal for medical use in 29 states, in addition to the territories of Puerto Rico and Guam, and is legal for recreational use for those 21 and over in 8 states, plus the District of Columbia.
For many teens and their parents, the move towards legalization implies that marijuana is safe for use, but this is a common misconception. Teen marijuana use has proven to have a variety of negative short-term and long-term effects, and new laws can't change this. In addition, adolescents abusing marijuana may not realize they are actually using synthetic marijuana, which comes with many additional dangers.
Teenagers experiment with marijuana for a variety of reasons. Whether they are trying to fit in with peers, cope with mental health issues, or simply want to get high, rebellious young adults have plenty of rationales for delving into drug culture. While some teens will be fine sticking with marijuana, others will use pot as a gateway, moving on to other more dangerous drugs in its wake. No matter the excuses your teen has, drug use is inherently problematic, causing issues that can last a lifetime.
If you have discovered that your teen abuses marijuana, help is here. At Teen Treatment Center, teenagers can get the help they need to eliminate the possibility of developing a full-blown addiction. Our admissions counselors are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have about how we treat teen marijuana abuse at (844) 319-5239. All consultations are free and confidential.
What Is Marijuana?
Marijuana is a drug derived from the cannabis plant and is the most commonly used illicit substance in the world, with over 44% of Americans over the age of 12 using marijuana at some point in life. Cannabis contains tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, a psychoactive compound that provides a potent high. Also known by nicknames like pot, weed, hash, Mary Jane, grass, and leaves, marijuana is found in high quantities in virtually every high school in the United States.
Marijuana is most commonly smoked, usually after being dried, ground, and wrapped up in a paper joint wrapper or a packed into a pipe or bong. In some cases, marijuana can also be baked into edible snacks, like brownies or candies, making the consumption process much easier and more potent. Marijuana is now produced in a synthetic form as well, known as Spice or K2. While advertised as the same thing as natural marijuana, performance differs strongly, creating dangerous effects that have put countless teens in the hospital.
The addictive nature of marijuana has been an ongoing debate, with many professionals stating that marijuana use does not lead to addiction or any long-term dangers. However, this is categorically untrue. While the physical addiction traits common in other illicit substances are far less likely with marijuana, psychological addiction is very real.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, one out of every six teenagers who use marijuana becomes addicted. In addition, 13% of individuals who develop a substance use disorder began using marijuana by the time they were 14 years old.
Marijuana and the Brain
As with most addictive drugs, marijuana can have significant effects on the brain that may be extremely detrimental to long-term development. This is particularly true for teenager users.
According to numerous studies, teen marijuana use disrupts normal brain function and can lead to many developmental issues. This has to do with the aging process in the brain; children's brains are actually larger proportionally due to the skills needed during early childhood, and the transition into adulthood is effectively a streamlining process. Marijuana use in this time can throw this process off course, leading to long-term effects to memory, judgment, and cognition that cannot be undone. A similar study found that teen marijuana smokers have, on average, an IQ eight points lower than that of their sober peers.
If your teenager is showing signs of marijuana use, it is imperative to intervene early and get them the help they not only need but deserve.
Ease of Access
In relation to other illicit drugs, marijuana is extremely simple to access. Most teens know several dealers or growers of marijuana, and generally know how to purchase it if so desired. Costs are reduced compared to more serious drugs, and the buying process is low risk.
Teens who are particularly invested in smoking marijuana may be motivated to grow their own. Possible in virtually any space in the home with assistance from grow lamps, enterprising teens can farm marijuana from the confines of their bedrooms.
Signs Your Teen is Using Marijuana
If your teen is using marijuana, you may notice numerous signs, especially if he is using within your home. He may seem disoriented, euphoric, hyper, or sedated. His words may not make much sense, or he may seem too stunned to speak. Bloodshot eyes and paranoid actions can also be indicative of drug use.
Most teens choose not to get high around their parents, so behavioral signs will likely be a better way to identify drug use in your child, like:
- Secretive behavior
- Lying and sneaking around
- Spending time with new friend groups
- Asking for money regularly
- Depression or isolation
- A sudden drop in academic performance
- Lack of interest in hobbies and activities
Drug paraphernalia can also indicate drug use. This includes the obvious tools like rolling papers, pipes, bongs, lighters, and baggies filled with dried greens, but also can include eye drops, incense, mouthwash, air fresheners, or dryer sheets.
The Effects of Marijuana Use
Marijuana has many effects on the body, some pleasurable and some dangerous. Many teens seek out pot for its psychoactive high, creating a relaxed, carefree feeling with side effects including increased appetite, paranoia, and euphoria. However, these aren't the only effects that come from regular drug usage, with common side effects including:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Slowed reaction time
- Anxiety or paranoia
- Increased appetite
- Impaired memory
- Dry mouth
Most of these effects are relatively benign, and overdose from marijuana is virtually impossible. The same is not true for synthetic marijuana, however. While the two drugs may be similar, the signs of synthetic marijuana use can be much more extreme, and include:
- Throwing up
- Violent outbursts
- Suicidal thoughts
Overdose risk is increased with synthetic marijuana, with over 11,000 emergency room visits recorded in 2010 and approximately 120 overdoses.
If you've noticed any of the above signs, now is the best time to get the care you need for your teenager. Visible side effects can be indicative of abusive behavior and the sooner treatment is available, the better.
What does Marijuana look like? There are several compontents to look for. The Marijuana itself is often kept in pill bottles, tins or bags. Other marijuana paraphernalia may include rolling paper, bongs, a 'bowl', a hookah pipe and roach clips.
Seeking Treatment for Marijuana
If you suspect marijuana use in your teen, treatment may be the best possible course of action. Addiction is a very serious condition, and prolonged use as a teen can cause lasting negative effects that will follow your child through the rest of his life.
In order to address the challenges of marijuana abuse, professional interference provides your best chance to successfully break a dangerous habit. With a safe, secure facility operated by doctors, nurses, and therapists with a focus on addiction medicine, you can ensure your teen escapes the cycle of addiction before it's too late.
Marijuana Detox and Treatment Options
For many drugs, detox is the first step in the treatment process, but marijuana is a little different. As there's no physical component to addiction, a true detox process isn't necessary. However, inpatient rehabilitation still offers many advantages, especially when it comes to providing targeted care for your teen's addiction.
Teens begin using drugs for many different reasons, from stress at school to trouble coping with challenges at home. Instead of simply forcing your teen to quit, we employ a unique abstinence-focused program to help teenagers overcome substance through evidence-based treatment methods. Over the course of this therapy, adolescents are able to begin working through the underlying issues contributing to substance abuse.
We also realize that a one-size-fits-all approach is ineffective, guaranteeing an individualized treatment plan for your teen that is tailored to his psychological, physical, and emotional needs. Some of the evidence-based treatments and services that may be incorporated into therapeutic plans include:
- Medically-supervised detox (if necessary)
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
- Individual counseling
- Family therapy
- Group counseling
- Academic support
- Therapeutic recreation
- Life skills training
In addition, we recognize that many teens struggling with substance abuse are also dealing with legal issues. Our Court Liaison Program allows teenagers to fulfill their legal obligations while simultaneously receiving treatment, creating a positive trajectory that can ensure the best possible outcome. We are also trained to address co-occurring disorders, like anxiety disorder, PTSD, depression, and more, ensuring a holistic and comprehensive approach to overall health.
Let Teen Treatment Center Make a Difference!
Seeing signs of drug use in your teen is never easy, but the right resources can make all the difference. At Teen Treatment Center, we are prepared to address every facet of your child's addiction struggles, curating custom treatment paths just right for your teen's needs.
Together, we can help your teen refocus and live up to their full potential without the use of marijuana. Our admissions counselors are available to answer any questions you may have by phone or chat 24/7 at (844) 319-5239. Whenever you call, we will be here to help you make the right decision for your teen and your family.
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