Money has shown to be a pretty great motivator for the mass majority of people. Usually, a brain will show activity indicating a “rush” when someone wins money–but marijuana use in teens and adults may be changing this. ScienceDaily recently reported on a University of Michigan Medical School study which tracked the brain’s responses to rewards overtime in relation to marijuana use in teens. What they found is worrying and could mean that youth using marijuana may be more susceptible to addiction.

marijuana use in teens
Photo Credit: flickr user – tanj

Marijuana use in teens and the brain’s reward system

Researchers found that youth who use marijuana had lower responses to rewards–money, for example–than non-marijuana users. They believe this muted response actually opens young marijuana users up to a higher risk of forming an addiction to marijuana or other drugs. More research needs to be done to figure out if the reward system is “taken over” by the drug, but professionals are worried that teens will need marijuana to feel reward or that their overall emotional responses have been lowered.
This is worrying because we don’t quite know what it means. Changing our brain’s natural, inborn response to rewards could do many things–including opening the door to addiction.

Marijuana’s reputation

Marijuana has a reputation as the “safe” drug among young people–this is dangerous. Many people believe it’s impossible to become addicted to marijuana, but this is leagues away from the truth. While it may not contain addictive substances like nicotine, many become dependent on the feeling and escape marijuana provides them with, making it possible for marijuana use in teens to lead to addiction. This study just furthers the idea that marijuana can potentially be addictive.
If you’re altering your brain’s responses with a substance, then you remove the substance, your brain isn’t going to immediately rebound from not having that substance in your system, it takes time–which can make it addictive. Marijuana use in teens can become an issue that bleeds into adulthood and disrupts daily life.

blueFire Wilderness can help

blueFire Wilderness is a wilderness therapy program for struggling teens, ages 11 to 17. Our students often grapple with anxiety, depression, and other emotional or behavioral problems. At blueFire, we strive to help each client succeed.
For more information about how blueFire Wilderness handles problems related to marijuana use in teens, please call 1 (844) 413-1999 today!

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