In 2015, 10% of middle and high school students surveyed said they smoked marijuana daily, and a staggering 91.3% had used the drug at some point in their lifetime. The year before, 4.17 million Americans said they had abused or were dependent on marijuana. Watch out for street names for marijuana your child may use, which include:
- Mary Jane
Is Marijuana Addictive?Marijuana is a dangerous drug — extensive use can lead to several health problems. The most concerning fact is the drug’s overwhelming popularity with young people, a major factor in teen drug addiction.
Marijuana addiction — like all forms of addiction — is a mental disorder that rewires the brain’s reward center. The younger a person begins using weed, the more likely they are to develop an addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, teens who use marijuana before the age of 18 are 4–7 times more likely to develop marijuana use disorder than adults. So, can you get addicted to marijuana? Yes — sometimes even after smoking weed for the first time. Not only does addiction affect a person’s health, but those driven by the need for their next hit of marijuana can lose their job, opportunities for education, homes and close relationships with friends and family in the process.
Side Effects of Marijuana UsePot users experience a variety of effects, including the short-term effects users seek and many long-term health effects. In the short term, marijuana use causes:
- Loss of coordination
- Disrupted memory
- Disrupted learning
- Impaired cognition
- Increased heart rate
- Dry mouth
- Chronic cough
- Amotivational syndrome
- Poor academic performance
What Is Marijuana?Marijuana comes from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. Users smoke dried leaves and flowers from the plant to get high. Marijuana contains many chemicals, called cannabinoids, including the psychoactive THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the substance most responsible for the effects or high users experience after smoking marijuana.
How Is Marijuana Used?There are a number of methods for consuming and using marijuana. Most weed users smoke, inhaling the smoke to get high. Some smoke it similarly to tobacco products, either rolling pot like a cigarette to make a joint, or rolling pot like a cigar to make a blunt. Weed can also be smoked using pipes, called bowls, water pipes called bongs, or vaporizer pens. When a person breathes in the smoke from burning marijuana, it’s called taking a “hit.” Weed can also be used when making food or candy, called edibles. By dissolving cannabis in butter, these baked goods can get a user just as high as if they were smoking pot. Popular edibles include weed brownies and pot pizza.
In recent years, dabbing has also grown popular. Dabbing is the process of smoking a dab, or super-concentrated cannabinoid oil.Dabs are popularly called butane hash oil because butane gas is used as a solvent to extract the THC and other cannabinoids from marijuana. The concentrated oil is a sticky, amber-colored substance that can often be shaped into different designs. Many drug slang terms have developed for dabs based on its appearance, including:
Marijuana ParaphernaliaSmoking pot and dabbing require certain specific pieces of drug paraphernalia. Teens often buy these items at stores called head shops. In some states where marijuana is legal, head shops openly sell these products. In other places, head shops mark their paraphernalia to be used with tobacco only. Marijuana paraphernalia includes:
- Cigarette rolling papers to make joints with
- Cheap cigars to make blunts with
- Bongs, or water pipes that are typically made of glass
- Bowls, or small marijuana pipes typically made of glass
- Herb grinders for shredding marijuana leaves
- Roach clips used to hold the end of a joint to protect the smoker’s hands from burning
- Dab rig, also called an oil rig, used for dabbing BHO
- Vaporizer pens or vape pens, used for vaporizing BHO or marijuana leaves
Legal Consequences of MarijuanaA popular question teenagers wonder is, What happens if you get caught with weed? The answer to this question depends greatly on the state in which they reside, but typically, underage possession of marijuana leads to legal action.
Even in states that allow for recreational marijuana use, there are age limits imposed. In most of these instances, underage possession is illegal. If your child is caught with weed, they may be placed in a diversion program and have a marijuana charge that goes on their record — something that can follow them through adulthood.