In a survey from December 2015 by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, it was found that in almost all areas of teen drug use has gone down to an all time low–except in marijuana use, which has remained steady at 6 percent.

teen drug use
Photo Credit: flickr user – Torben Hansen

Though use has remained steady, the perception of it among high schoolers as a risky substance continues to plummet. This is the first time marijuana use has exceeded tobacco use, making it a crucial time to educate teens on the danger of its use. 

Harmful effects of marijuana on teen brains

Though there is mounting evidence for the medical use of marijuana, the mass majority of teenagers aren’t using it for medical purposes. Many studies have concluded that heavy marijuana usage has many negative effects on the growing brain. From the National Institute on Drug Abuse, some adverse side effects of marijuana use in teens include:
Coordination: This is a short-term effect, but it’s important. Marijuana messes with the part of the brain that’s associated with motor control. This can make your movements more erratic or sluggish. Many teens use marijuana then get into a car to drive, thinking they’re not impaired–this just isn’t true. In a study from 2010, it was found that out of crashes involving drugged driving, 36.9 percent of them tested positive for marijuana. 
Learning and Remembering: The part of the brain related to memory and learning is called the hippocampus. Marijuana screws with this part of the brain, making it hard to remember or retain new knowledge. In short-term use, the effects can last up to days; however, long-term teen drug use with marijuana has been associated with a deformed hippocampus, continued issues in memory, and even an 8 point IQ drop–even if the people stopped marijuana use in their adult years.
Risky Judgement: Marijuana is a drug, meaning that it affects how you perceive reality. This can make teens engage in behavior they would otherwise not partake in, such as more harmful drugs, dangerous activities, and more.

blueFire helps with teen drug use

blueFire is a wilderness therapy program for struggling teens, ages 11 to 17. We strive to help our students deal with issues, such as teen drug use, depression, anxiety, and other behavioral problems.
For more information about blueFire Wilderness, please call 1 (844) 413-1999 today!

Previous reading
Gems in the Gem State: Tips for Finding Wilderness Therapy in Idaho
Next reading
Rebellious Teens: What a Parent Needs to Know About Defiant Disorder