University of West Florida
Adolescents and Marijuana
Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug used by teens today. Approximately 60 percent of the kids who use drugs use only marijuana. Of the 14.6 million marijuana users in 2002, approximately 4.8 million used it on 20 or more days in any given month (Kids and Marijuana).
There are many reasons why some teens start smoking marijuana. Many start using because their older siblings or friends are consuming it in front of them. Often peer pressure plays a major role. Teens think it’s cool to use marijuana; they see their favorite movie stars smoking it in movies and their favorite bands sing songs about it. The problem becomes more severe when teens start relying on marijuana and think that they need it to escape from problems at school, home life, or with friends. Marijuana use has been linked to depression. Research suggests that marijuana smokers are diagnosed with depression more often than nonsmokers- particularly regular or heavy marijuana users (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2010).
Some of the signs teenagers exhibit when using marijuana are: dizziness and trouble walking, red bloodshot eyes, trouble remembering things that just happened, and they often appear silly and giggly for no apparent reason. The way marijuana affects each teen depends on several factors including: • How strong the marijuana is;
• What the user expects to happen;
• Whether the user is drinking alcohol or using other drugs; • The user’s previous marijuana consumption;
• Where the drug is used
Some teens feel no effects from marijuana the first few times they smoke it. Others may feel relaxed and somewhat giddy. Quite often marijuana makes the teen feel very hungry and thirsty. Others can sometimes experience bad effects from marijuana. They may become highly paranoid or have feelings of anxiety or dizziness (National Institute on Drug Abuse,...