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Teen Marijuana Addiction

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:

  • Weed
  • Pot
  • Bud
  • Ganja
  • Grass
  • Hash
  • Herb
  • Mary Jane

With the increased popularity of the drug amongst teens, the instances of marijuana abuse continue to rise.

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 Use

Pot 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
  • Anxiety
  • Dry mouth

In the long term, marijuana use also increases a person’s risk of developing:

  • Chronic cough
  • Bronchitis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Amotivational syndrome
  • Poor academic performance
  • Addiction

What Is Marijuana?

cannabis plant

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?

teen smoking joint

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:

  • Budder
  • Shatter
  • Earwax
  • Honeycomb

Dabbing requires the use of a dab rig and a blowtorch. Users first heat a metal or glass part of the rig, called a nail, using the blowtorch before placing the dabs on it. The heated dab produces a vapor that users inhale to get high. BHO can also be vaporized using vape pens similarly to in an e-cigarette.

Marijuana Paraphernalia

teen smoking marijuana out of pipe

Smoking 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 Marijuana

A 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.

Marijuana Treatment Options

Contrary to popular assumption, weed does impact the brain’s reward system and is, therefore, an addictive drug. Even worse for the teenage population, the majority of adolescents who have used drugs like marijuana before the age of 18 have developed a substance use disorder by the age of 20. Since marijuana is the most popular drug amongst teenagers, its abuse poses a serious threat to teenage health.

Luckily, addiction can be treated and teens can learn to manage their marijuana use disorder. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and managing co-occurring disorders are two large components of treating an addiction to marijuana.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Counseling is a significant part of most rehab programs. For teens struggling with marijuana abuse, cognitive behavioral therapy is found to be the most effective. In this subset of psychotherapy, counselors work with teens to understand problematic behaviors, why they occur, and implement changes that will positively affect the behaviors.

Managing Co-Occurring Disorders

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, adolescents who have marijuana use disorder often also suffer from other mental disorders — including depression, anxiety or an eating disorder. Your child will benefit from a holistic co-occurring disorder rehab in order to truly address all the issues and prevent relapse.

Does Your Child Need Marijuana Addiction Treatment?

If your child needs marijuana addiction treatment, our team at Next Generation Village may be able to help them get on the road to recovery. We can work with you to better understand addiction treatment options that may be available for your teen and support groups that can help your family heal during this difficult time.

Location and rehab expertise play major roles in the success rate of teen drug rehab. At Next Generation Village, teens have both. Drug rehab in Florida allows recovering teens the opportunity to heal in a calm, refreshing setting — supported by a team of professionals that work to individualize daily treatment schedules and care.

A teen marijuana addiction isn’t how the story ends. Your child has hope, but it requires individualized professional care and the love and support of your family. Call us now to find out how we can help your teen get better — together.

Related Articles About Teen Marijuana Use

Marijuana and the Teen Brain

Teen Marijuana Myths

Can You Overdose on Marijuana?

Can Teens Vape Marijuana?

Teen Marijuana Withdrawal

Medical Disclaimer: Next Generation Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.


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