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Youth Marijuana

Our young adults are very influenced by their friends, social media and activities that they participate in. We want our youth to make the best decisions that impact their lives in a positive way. As parents or caregivers we have a great influence on our children; what activities they participate in and who they associate with. Please take the time to sit down with your teenagers and talk about the risks of using marijuana. Any use of marijuana can also lead to other risky behaviors. Protect our youth; it’s worth it!

The Law

In November 2012, Washington State voters approved the legalization of recreational marijuana for adults over the age of 21. It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to use or possess any amount of marijuana. It is also illegal for adults to provide marijuana to minors.

What is marijuana?

Also known as pot, weed, bud, grass, reefer, herb, or Mary Jane – is a mixture of dried leaves, stems, and flowers of the cannabis plant. The active component in cannabis is called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) this is what produces the “high” feeling associated with using marijuana. The chemical content and THC potency vary based on the type of marijuana product and how it is used.

How is it consumed?

It can be smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes (joints), pipes, water pipes (bongs), or cigars (blunts). It can be consumed in food, such as in brownies or cookies, commonly called “edibles.” A newer method of using marijuana is vaping, which often involves the use of devices like e-cigarettes and also by dabbing.

What are the health effects?

  • Memory: remembering things may become more difficult with regular use.
  • Brain development: Your brain is still developing in your 20’s. Use during developing years can change your brain chemistry and have lasting side effects on memory, learning and intelligence.
  • Loss of control: Can lead to hallucinations, unpredictable behavior and poor decision making.
  • Driving: Can affect coordination and reaction times. It could cause a crash, hurt yourself or others, or cause you to lose your driver’s license.
  • Sports and performance: Marijuana can affect your coordination, movement, and reflexes. It may even disqualify your from participating.
  • Learning and grades: Regular marijuana use makes it difficult to learn, concentrate and remember things
  • Addiction: Regular use may lead to dependence especially when you start using as a teen.
  • Mood and Mental Health: Marijuana can make you feel depressed, anxious, and/or paranoid because of the way it interacts with the brain chemistry. It can also decrease your motivation in participating in activities and hobbies that you enjoy.
  • Judgement: You are increasing the odds of doing something dangerous which may affect you long term or hurt others.
  • Mixing substances: Using marijuana and alcohol have serious consequences such as intoxication, risky behavior and psychological effects.
  • Lung health:Smoking marijuana can impact your lung capacity and also causes throat irritation and coughing.

Youth that start using marijuana at an early age, who become frequent users and smoke marijuana for longer periods of time are more likely to develop dependence. As of 2016, 7.4% of Lincoln County youth (grades 6-12) have indicated use of marijuana.

Resources: 

A Parent’s Guide to preventing underage marijuana use – Seattle Children’s

Youth Prevention: You Can

TeenLink

University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute         

Spokane Regional Health District

Spokane Regional Health District Weed to Know

Washington Recovery Helpline

Washington State Department of Health

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)