Tag Archives: pot

Is it “Just Pot”

I am on the mailing list for a treatment center in Canada called Edgewood. I have had the pleasure of visiting the facility and have referral several people who were happy to have been treated there. Here is some of the article: Our experience at Edgewood suggests the general public, those families who struggle with addiction, and most certainly those advocating for medicinal
use of marijuana could benefit from more information. What we are
concerned with is the lack of knowledge of the potential addictive qualities of the drug and other associated health
risks. As with alcohol consumption, many people use marijuana without suffering any apparent negative consequences. Like the occasional drinker, the occasional ‘toker’ may not recognize
or give credence to the potential for harm from the
substance. It is well documented that while consumption
of alcohol is benign for some, it can lead to addiction issues, physical and neurological damage, family crisis, or medical and
police emergencies for others. While statistics for the consequences of marijuana use are limited, it is
reasonable to suggest a percentage of those using marijuana run the risk of experiencing the same types of harms associated with alcohol. (Most people choose not to use illegal or controlled
substances, so it remains to be seen if legalizing marijuana would change its consumption and/or harm patterns.)For those genetically predisposed to addiction, marijuana is both highly
addictive and destructive. For others, prolonged use can negatively affect brain function, trigger psychotic
episodes and lead to lung disease from the constant exposure to toxins in the inhaled smoke. When despite all of this, the person using marijuana cannot stop, that’s addiction. Choice at that
point has nothing to do with it. For those who support medicinal
use of marijuana the implications of the method of delivery of the active ingredient is worth considering. Our experience with marijuana addicts in treatment is that they are admittedly
less interested in a controlled dosage in pill or tablet form. They are more interested in smoking as much as they themselves deem to be “okay”. And, while anecdotal evidence abounds, there
still is no clear scientific evidence that proves marijuana an equal, or superior, medicine to conventional medicines already available.
Society continues to debate the merits and perils of marijuana use and its legalization, but if we are going to engage in debate let us at least be as informed as we can be on this complex
subject and consider all aspects of its use. For some, marijuana remains a benign social stimulant; for others it can be the beginning of a path to ruin.

Talking to teens about pot now that it’s ‘cool’ in Washington

When I talk to my adolescent clients and their parents I am told that “everyone on Maui smokes weed.” I happen to know that statement is not true because I live on Maui and I do not smoke pot.  Frank Couch talks about why it is important to know your policy. It is not “just marijuana.”  You are putting a powerful substance on a brain that is still developing. Be informed.

Here’s a great piece from MyNorthwest.com.

Talking to Teens about Pot

Teen narrowly escapes death after smoking synthetic marijuana

My heart goes out to this family and other individuals and families whose lives have been impacted by drugs and alcohol. A common mistake parents make is minimizing adolescent marijuana use, as if it is “just marijuana.” Statistics show that early use of drugs and/or alcohol increases the odds of becoming an addict/alcoholic. Parental attitudes about drug use has a huge impact on whether or not kids use and continue to use drugs and/or alcohol.  If you know your child is a regular user, get them assessed by an addictions professional. Get them and the family into counseling. Educate yourself about adolescent addiction signs and symptoms. Start with the information at this link to a National Institute on Drug Abuse informational brochure.

Photo Credit: Fox 8 WGHP

For more about this Fox 8 WGHP news story, visit here.

After Legalization: teenagers and pot

This is fantastic information shared via Center for Advanced Recovery Solutions. –Debbie Bayer

Now that marijuana is legal in Washington State, will its use increase because it will be perceived as no big deal? Or will use go down because the taboo factor will be erased? Parents already face an uphill battle convincing their teens that marijuana poses risks to their health and well-being. Will legalizing marijuana increase the challenge?

Even before the vote to legalize, the majority of Washington high school students didn’t see much risk to trying marijuana a couple of times. But one of the biggest mistakes parents of teens can make is to believe that they no longer have influence on their kids. Even though it’s hard to believe, amidst all of the eye-rolling, foot-stomping and stone-walling that goes on in the homes of teenagers, parents are still the most influential role model.

Teens who believe their parents strongly disapprove of drug use are less likely to use drugs than are teens who don’t think their parents have such strong feelings. A 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that past month marijuana use was much less prevalent among youths (4%) who perceived strong parental disapproval for trying marijuana or hashish once or twice than among those who did not (33%).

As parents, educators and healthcare professionals, we don’t need to demonize marijuana to help our kids avoid it. As a therapist who works with parents of teens, I encourage parents to talk about marijuana similar to alcohol use: “while you are a teenager its unsafe, against the rules in our family and against the law.”

The teenage brain is still developing and vulnerable to harm from marijuana and alcohol, much of which can be avoided if kids wait until they are adults to begin using them recreationally. Further, for teenagers there has been no change in the legality of using marijuana – it is still illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to grow, sell or possess marijuana and the driving limit for youth under the age of 21 is zero.

If anything, the vote to legalize marijuana presents an opportunity for parents to speak to their teens about marijuana, alcohol and other drugs. Share your values, set expectations and reach out for help if you need it.

Not sure how to articulate your concerns about teens smoking pot? Here is what the research says about the risks that marijuana poses to teens and young adults.

  • Youth who smoke pot are about twice as likely to have lower grades (C’s, D’s, F’s) than students who don’t smoke.
  • A recent study showed that adults who had begun regular marijuana use as teenagers saw an average eight point decline in IQ by the time they were 38 years old. Interestingly, this same loss in IQ was not seen in those who did not begin marijuana use until their adult years.
  • Despite the assertion of many teenagers, marijuana is considered an addictive drug. In fact, among youth receiving substance abuse treatment, marijuana abuse accounts for the largest percentage of admissions. One Washington treatment center says that the see the highest incidence of people leaving AMA are those being treated for marijuana abuse. Frequent smokers may experience withdrawal symptoms including cravings, irritability and sleep problems.
  • The age at which a person begins using alcohol, marijuana and other drugs greatly affects their risk of becoming addicted to those substances, another reason to set firm expectations with your teen that they abstain from drug and alcohol use, at least before adulthood. Adults who first used marijuana before age 15 are about five times as likely to have a drug addiction as an adult than those who first used marijuana after age 18.

Read more about the warning signs of drug abuse on the CARES website.