Thursday, June 23, 2016

Marijuana and Addiction: the Truth Unfolds

by Jacqueline Longo, June 23, 2016

Program Coordinator, Youth Leadership
The Governor's Prevention Partnership

 We hear quite often from youth and parents that they believe marijuana is not addictive. This is a misconception.  Research has shown that marijuana is a highly addictive drug.  The earlier someone starts using, the greater the chance of becoming addicted.  The National Institute of Drug Abuse states that individuals who use marijuana before the age of 18 are 4-7 times more likely to become addicted as they enter adulthood. “It is estimated that about 1 in 6 people who start using as a teen…become addicted to marijuana.” Since the brain is not fully developed until the mid-20s, teens have a higher risk of addiction.   Further, marijuana use affects memory, emotion control, coordination, and other important brain functions. With marijuana being the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States and with the high possibility of addiction, it is important to educate young people on the risks of marijuana use.

Parenting for Prevention Tips:
  • Start talking: Kids who learn about the risks of drugs at home are up to 50% less likely to use.
  • Keep the conversation going: You may think your child isn’t listening, but they hear you!
  • Set firm limits and have a clear no use policy: Let your child know that you disapprove of any drug or alcohol use. 
View more resources on NIDA for Teens.

View additional resources for parents to speak with youth about the dangers of substance abuse.

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