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Teens & Marijuana: Getting a life

answered 06:27 AM EST, Wed July 18, 2012
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anonymous anonymous
I used to smoke marijuana quite a lot when I was younger. Now my son is using. He is 17. I am not that worried about it since I don't think it is a very harmful drug, actually I would rather he smoke a joint than get drunk. My wife says that marijuana today is a lot stronger and it is dangerous now and that it is addictive now and not like it used to be. She never used drugs of any kind so I am not sure if she isn't just freaked by the idea of ANY drug use by our son and maybe she is not acting totally rationally. Is the marijuana floating around today really more dangerous? I understand that it is stronger but doesn't that just mean you need to smoke less to get high... I seem to remember getting pretty high even on the low potency weed of 20 years ago…

Jill Edwards Says...

You and your wife can both make a contribution to the process of getting information around these decisions. Your wife is quite right that there are stronger forms of marijuana available now and different parts of the plant like buds can provide a much stronger high. We are beings able to enjoy pleasure and if people find smoking marijuana enjoyable, then we are likely to do more of it. It is a drug that takes a long time to leave the body and people have reported a great difficulty and some real agitation and irritability in stopping using it. What is going on around this life is crucial. As you will remember, in the early days this drug denoted a life style, that was chilled out, laid back etc. This drug has a tendency to increase withdrawal from life rather than getting involved, this can mean that in a 7 year drug period, which is not uncommon, people can go in at 17 and come out at 24 and wonder what happened at a time that is crucial to education, training and just getting on. As you will know it also reduces libido at a time when most people are finding partners and enjoying the sexual side of life. So the effects of marijuana are long term and difficult to see, but no less serious for that. If a young person has some other issues, like sociophobia, or mental health issues of other kinds, or have been bullied or mistreated in other areas, then mis-use can be more serious because they become more dependant and they can be more fearful and less rational in dealing with life and in some cases psychotic. Drugs are available, but it is worth knowing that someone who is getting supplies in will be in closer contact with harder drugs through their dealer and through the friends they make when smoking. Your son is fortunate that he can hear different views from both of you, but I suggest that you all have a good look at the information available to you, the advantages and disadvantages. But more importantly that you all stress the enjoyment to be found from being more involved in life and activity rather than the need to get away from it all. Just make enjoyable living more important, and keep communicating. Taking marijuana does not stop people from drinking.

You and your son can assess together the frequency with which he uses marijuana. Most things can become addictive. If it becomes the main focus of the day, if there is agitation around getting supplies, if a person does things they would not otherwise do to get supplies, if there is lying around using, these are all signs of addiction and you can teach you son to know that any forms of addiction need help and support, and that at that point he would have to get out of that habit.

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Page last updated Jul 18, 2012

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