Kansas NPW: Prevention of Youth Marijuana Use
Nationally, marijuana-use among teenagers is rising, and it is most used by young adults, ages 18 to 35, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Marijuana is a mixture of dried leaves, stems and seeds from the hemp plant. Of the approximately 400 chemicals in marijuana the main psychoactive (mind-altering) chemical is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. It is the chemical believed to affect the brain’s functions and distort how the mind perceives the world. Research also shows other health risks associated with marijuana youth by young people, including a negative impact on education and employment outcomes, as well as increased risk for addiction and vehicle crashes. Local, state, national, and international policies, practices, laws, and norms are believed to have potential related to use patterns. As such, comprehensive prevention planning is recommended to include social, cultural, and environmental considerations in all community efforts.
Heavy use of Marijuana can have lasting effects. This potential for permanent damage is why states that have legalized marijuana make it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase or use the drug.
THE DAMAGE HEAVY MARIJUANA USE CAN DO INCLUDES:
- Psychosis that leads to panic
- Increased heart rate
- Distorted perception
- Impaired athletic abilities involving timing, movement and coordination
- Impaired driving skills, including alertness, concentration, coordination and reaction time
- Impaired academic skills including decreased attention, memory, learning and intelligence
- Impaired judgment resulting in risky behaviors
- Chronic cough
- Higher risk of lung infections
- Increased risk of mental health problems