How are teens smoking marijuana? What parents need to know to spot marijuana use.
There are different forms of marijuana. Most commonly dried marijuana buds are smoked (the leaves and stalks have a low THC content). Marijuana may also be smoked in a in a cigarette like joint, in a pipe or in a water pipe (bong). Ingenious and alternative ways to smoke the substance also exist, and show a determination and creativity that parents only wish teens would reserve for their education!
Marijuana may also be eaten, most commonly as baked into cookies or brownies. Marijuana is not water soluble, so it is generally combined with high fat ingredients to ensure absorption. It can also be dissolved into alcohol. Eating marijuana is a less effective way to deliver the drug.
Hash, Hash Oil
Increasingly processed forms of marijuana also include hash and hash oil. Hash is a resinous sticky brown cake formed by compressing together resin from the sticky fresh plants. Hash can have a much higher THC content than marijuana. Even more potent is hash oil, which is the extracted oil from hash, which can have a THC content of as high as 50% in strength. Hash and hash oil are smoked in joints, with hot knives and in pipes and bongs, and once again, hash smokers do exhibit great creativity in ways to smoke the drug.
Risks of Overdose?
As far as acute reactions go, marijuana is one of the safest possible drugs. There can be a loss of coordination and as such driving or operating any form of machinery while high on marijuana does carry some risk; but direct risks from the smoked drug to the body are very low in the short term. There has never been a reported case of someone dying from an overdose of marijuana.
Marijuana can cause an unpleasant reaction if smoked to excess, and great anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, nausea and vomiting are all very possible when smoking in great quantities, and especially by inexperienced users.
Marijuana can in rare case cause a temporary break from reality, called a "marijuana psychosis". During a marijuana psychosis people often hear voices instructing them, have great paranoia that others are planning to do them harm or kill them and may also feel as though they are dying. An episode of marijuana psychosis is not often harmful in isolation, and virtually all people who experience this unpleasant condition do make a full recovery after the effects of the drug wear off. Unfortunately, anyone who experiences a marijuana psychosis has been shown to have a 50% or greater chance of developing schizophrenia later in life.
Long Term Risks
Unfortunately, although marijuana is relatively safe for short term usage and acute intoxication, with long term heavy use marijuana does carry some risks; risks of cancer, cognitive declines and memory problems, risks of developmental delays and impairments in teens and an increased propensity towards psychiatric conditions. These risks will be covered in greater depth later in the text.
Additionally, marijuana remains illegal in all states of the nation, even for medical purposes, and in some states people may be facing jail time for simple possession of the drug.
Marijuana advocates argue that alcohol, a legal substance causes far greater societal and health problems that does marijuana, and although they may be correct, this does not logically imply that marijuana is good for you or a good idea, and before anyone does start experimenting with marijuana, they should learn the real risks of marijuana consumption.
Page last updated Nov 08, 2010