Is Your Teen Smoking Marijuana?
“It’s a natural plant! What’s the big deal?” —A common declaration among youth who believe that the effects of marijuana are harmless and that the substance shouldn’t be regulated.
Regardless of public opinion, the science is clear:
Regular recreational use of marijuana during adolescence is harmful to the brain, which isn’t fully developed until the age of 25.
What Research Says
A review article further emphasized legitimate reasons for concern, suggesting that recreational use of marijuana increases an adolescent’s risk for anxiety and depression; addictions; disruptions in cognitive development; brain changes that can stretch well into adulthood, including impaired activity in the areas that govern alertness, awareness, learning, memory and inhibitory control; and overall lower IQ.
Long-Term Risks of Marijuana
The long-term risks of using recreational marijuana are even greater for adolescents with ADD/ADHD because the cognitive issues are magnified in those with already-low prefrontal cortex (PFC) function. At Amen Clinics, we call the PFC the brain’s “executive center” because it regulates impulse control and keeps us focused on the outcome of our decisions.
What Can Parents Do?
The most important thing is to teach them to love their brains, so they would never want to do anything to hurt it. Respect and a genuine connection. Teens don’t want to be lectured or given unsolicited advice. This approach encourages rebellion. Developing autonomy is a teen’s #1 objective, so if you pressure them to change or to problem-solve before they are ready, they will reject everything you say.
You must lovingly and patiently guide them into making the decision not to use drugs and alcohol on their own.
Let Us Help
We can help you and your loved ones overcome the stigma and suffering associated with ADD/ADHD, anxiety, depression, brain injury, weight loss, addictions, memory issues, brain fog, and other emotional and cognitive issues. If you are ready to regain control over your life or help a loved one do the same, give us a call at 1-888-288-9834 or click here to ask a question.