Have you talked to your teen about marijuana?

By Melissa Martin - Contributing Columnist

Is America becoming a pothead nation? Pot logic is taking over the brains of the misguided. Because medical marijuana is legal in several states does not justify the risks. Because recreational marijuana is legal in several states, the imprudent crowd argues that it’s benign. Common sense has gone up in a puff of smoke. And teenagers are listening in.

Cannabis products contain the mind-altering chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). They can also contain 400 other chemicals. Hmmm. Today’s weed is more potent than yesterday’s weed. How can inhaling 400 chemicals into your lungs be healthy? Only time and more studies will determine whether long-term smoking of marijuana causes lung cancer. Tobacco, move over.

What will you tell your teen when he/she makes an illogical case for the weed seed?

According to a 2019 article by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, teenage marijuana use is at its highest level in 30 years, and today’s teens are more likely to use marijuana than tobacco.

“But it’s not addictive,” whine the clueless. Contrary to popular belief, marijuana is addictive. Research shows that 1-in-6 people who start using the drug before the age of 18 can become addicted and 1-in-10 adults who use the drug can become addicted, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website.

“But it’s legal, so it must okay.” Legal does not mean safe. SAMHSA says, “Using marijuana can affect performance and how well people do in life. Research shows that people who use marijuana are more likely to have relationship problems, worse educational outcomes, lower career achievement, and reduced life satisfaction.” Well, put that in your pipe and smoke it.

“But it’s natural.” So is poison ivy, but I don’t see users huffing and puffing the leaves of three and celebrating the itchy vine.

“But it calms me down, so what’s the harm?” A 2014 study in the Journal of Neuroscience found changes in parts of the brain associated with reward and addiction, even among users who were not judged to be drug dependent. Marijuana has negative effects on attention, motivation, memory, and learning.

What is its effect on the mind? When marijuana is smoked, the THC passes from the lungs and into the bloodstream, which carries the chemical to the organs throughout the body, including the brain. In the brain, the THC connects to specific sites called cannabinoid receptors on nerve cells and influences the activity of those cells. Read more at www.dea.gov.

“Ohio’s medical marijuana program is unique from other states’ medical marijuana programs. Smoking marijuana is prohibited. Those who use medical marijuana in Ohio can only use an oil, tincture, capsule, edibles, plant material, patches, lotions, ointments, creams, or a vaping device. Ohio also has restrictions on advertising marijuana services, and there are limits on how the potency of marijuana patients can carry.” Read more at www.preventionactionalliance.org.

No buzz from bongs. So, who really believes the users of medical marijuana in Ohio are not smoking it?

As a former alcohol and drug counselor, I witnessed the crash and burn of many weed-smoking teens. Motivation ended up in the toilet of “I just don’t care about school or grades or rules.” Purpose and passion centered around buying and smoking potent pot from the powerful plant.

Street names include: Aunt Mary, BC Bud, Chronic, Dope, Gangster, Ganja, Grass, Hash, Herb, Joint, Mary Jane, Mota, Pot, Reefer, Sinsemilla, Skunk, Smoke, Weed, Yerba.

With legalization and use of weed in pop culture and new ways of using (edibles, vaporizers, concentrates), it’s becoming even more important for parents to consistently converse with teens.

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), as part of the National Institutes of Health, offers an extensive collection of publications, education materials, and videos to help parents talk to their children about drug use. www.drugabuse.gov.

With the legalization of medical marijuana and recreational marijuana, have adults sent the wrong message to teens?


By Melissa Martin

Contributing Columnist

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Scioto County. Contact her at [email protected]

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Scioto County. Contact her at [email protected]