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To some parents and many teenagers, there is an innocuous and harmless perception of marijuana. However, the healthcare field and many others know is that marijuana is addictive and has severe consequences on those that use it from a young age. Increasing numbers of adolescents and teens are needing and entering treatment for marijuana addiction. What we know is that marijuana is particularly harmful to adolescents because of their still developing brains and the causing of long-term negative effects.
Many parents struggle with knowing if marijuana is harming their child and question whether their son or daughter is addicted to marijuana. Marijuana, like any substance of abuse, can be used to mask or escape negative emotions or discomfort. An individual may start using and become habituated and normalized to the drug, needing to continually increase their usage in order to feel that initial high. For an addicted individual, the body and the mind become accustomed to the drug and the person starts to feel dependent on it. Just like any other addiction, those that find themselves dependent on marijuana will likely need to seek marijuana addiction counseling for recovery.
School is one area that marijuana immediately negatively affects. For a child, school makes up a huge part of their world. As an adult, a person has different areas of their life: friends, career, hobbies, community involvement, etc. However, for most children all the way through college, most of these pieces are connected directly or indirectly with school: their friends, interests, sports, community service. It is not just their education that is affected when their school performance alters.
Marijuana's immediately affects a teenager’s attention, memory, motivation and motor skills. These are all needed for learning and retaining information. Even when someone is not high, if they have been using marijuana regularly, their cognitive functioning and motivation decrease significantly. Their ability to learn, to participate and have a stake in their education is inhibited by their drug use. For a student that is already struggling academically, marijuana can make the issues much worse.
Beyond their education, marijuana will also affect how teens interact with their school: who their friends are, their motivation to participate in the things they once loved, their ability to succeed. A major warning sign for a child becoming dependent on the drug is a change in their friend group and a withdrawal from sports and extracurriculars. These aspects that help your child become a well rounded individual or find happiness and success in other areas of their lives may simply fall away.
Marijuana usage and addiction also show key links to long term issues that follow teens into adulthood. Truancy and delinquency are both linked with marijuana addiction. The likelihood of a child dropping out of school and failing to complete college both increase when marijuana enters the equation. Many people want to write off marijuana usage, even habitual dependence, as nothing more than a harmless phase. However, there are lifelong consequences and effects that this drug has.
If you believe that your child has a growing dependence on marijuana or other substances of abuse, getting them help is the first step in halting addiction and starting recovery. Getting your teen into marijuana addiction counseling quickly can mean a reduced length of rehabilitation and a better chance of recovery. For adolescents and teens using substances, stopping marijuana usage also means reducing the damage and long term effects they can inflict on themselves. As a teen treatment center for marijuana addiction we can help support you and your family as you begin the steps to recovery. We can offer marijuana addiction counseling and rehabilitation in Colorado, Maryland, and Virginia.