Last week, we learned about marijuana trends and access in Buckeye. This week, the focus is on consequences and help.
Many consequences of using marijuana affect our teenagers in Buckeye. It is the leading substance for driving under the influence, according to police. As stated last week, one officer went so far as to say, “Every minor with a DUI was marijuana or marijuana plus.”
In the first nine months of 2014, eleven teens were arrested in Buckeye for marijuana possession, and twenty-three teens were arrested for the same in 2013.
Responses in the Arizona Youth Survey indicate that marijuana use has contributed to family, financial, and emotion stress among teens in Buckeye. Moreover, 55 percent of those using marijuana indicate a low school commitment. While these stats may seem circumstantial, they track with what we know overall about marijuana use.
There are many known consequences to marijuana use, most of which strike against common myths about the substance. First, marijuana is addictive. According to the NIDA website (National Institute on Drug Abuse):
Contrary to common belief, marijuana can be addictive. Research suggests that 30 percent of users may develop some degree of problem use, which can lead to dependence and in severe cases takes the form of addiction.9 People who begin using marijuana before age 18 are 4 to 7 times more like than adults to develop problem use.10 Dependence becomes addiction when the person can’t stop using marijuana even though it interferes with his or her daily life.
There have also been multiple studies showing marijuana reduces a person’s neuropsychological abilities (the ability for the brain to function), such as the study here, here, here, here, and here. Even the much ballyhooed studies (such as this one titled IQ and Education Outcomes) that argue against marijuana lowering IQ scores agree that marijuana use lowers school performance.
Furthermore, buried in this study is the date of the testing, which ended in 2006. The problem? From 2006 to 2010, THC levels increased by fifty percent in the US. On top of that, the first study linked above is based on subjects who used marijuana since 2007, making it more accurate for current THC levels.
Even though “IQ and Education Outcomes” is a British study and therefore doesn’t necessarily track with THC levels found in the US, British researchers were noting higher levels of THC in marijuana in 2008 (70 percent market share for “skunk,” which has a 12-18 percent THC level).
Another series consequence is the increased risk (25 percent for some) in psychosis or permanent schizophrenia due to marijuana use (from the previous link):
Our findings are the first to suggest that the risk of psychosis is much greater among people who are frequent cannabis users, and among those using sinsemilla (skunk) rather than occasional users of traditional hash. It is not surprising that those who use skunk daily seem to be the group with the highest risk of all.
Another consequence often not discussed is the length of time in which marijuana affects the system, as shown in the following study of pilots:
Motor effects of cannabis extended long after subjective “high”, which tended to wane after about four hours. One study measured the overall average “decrement” in performance though a variety of simulated actions  and had similar results, with performance not back to baseline until 48 hours after smoking cannabis.
Where to Get Help
There are a number of places to get help, depending on your needs. For more education on the topic of marijuana, contact the WOW coalition. You may also contact us as a first resource for finding help if your teenager is involved in marijuana. If you prefer not to speak to one of us, please use this resource guide (second page) to find the appropriate help. Regardless of how you get it, we urge everyone to take the risks of marijuana use seriously.