Being a teenager is a time of growing, trying new things and learning from mistakes. Many teens experiment with drugs and alcohol during this phase of life, in spite of the consequences of these decisions. But while trying drugs like marijuana can have short term effects on a teen’s health and wellness, it can also affect them later in life too.
Because a teen is still developing, marijuana use can interfere with their growth. Brain development is particularly hindered and exposure to THC (a chemical found in marijuana) can lead to problems with learning and memory later on in life. Furthermore, one study conducted in New Zealand suggested that regular marijuana use by teens resulted in declining IQ.
Another area that can be affected by marijuana use is a person’s impulsivity and decision making, leading to increased engagement in risky behaviors. Reward centers in a teen’s brain can also be hindered, which can increase a person’s likelihood to try or abuse drugs.
Image: Chuck Grimmet
In terms of life decisions affected by regular marijuana use, one study suggests that youth under the age of 17 who use marijuana daily are 60% less likely to graduate from high school. This is significant because it could affect that teen’s job prospects or ability to attend college.
Mental health can also be affected in a long term way by early marijuana abuse. This can include an increased risk of being diagnosed with anxiety, psychosis and even possibly schizophrenia.
Put simply, choosing to abuse marijuana at a young age can lead to lifelong consequences. It’s important to educate your children on these realities so that they understand the risks of their decisions.
Feature Image: Dave H