All About Marijuana
Far too many parents describe it as “just pot” until they experience firsthand a child addicted to the drug.
Marijuana addiction is the No. 1 reason youth in the United States are admitted for substance-abuse treatment.
It’s important for parents and youth to be well educated about marijuana because of its rise in popularity and the common myth that it is relatively harmless compared to alcohol and tobacco. On the contrary, recent research shows that marijuana is more harmful to brain development than previously thought. In fact, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the active ingredient of marijuana that produces the euphoric high users experience, binds to the very receptor, called the Cannabinoid 1 Receptor, that helps control adolescent brain development. Loss of brain function and intelligence can result — and may be permanent.
It is even tougher for parents and youth to understand the potential dangers of THC because of the various forms the drug takes. It is infused into — and masked by — cookies and brownies, candies, cereals, sodas, lip balms and lotions, and a wide array of other products that appeal to kids.
Marijuana use by age group
Percentage of U.S. youth who have used in the last month
Marijuana use is up in the last year among American middle-school and high-school students, and legalizing the drug likely would mean many more underage marijuana users, according to Monitoring the Future, one of the United States' largest studies of students' drug...
Marijuana product recalls in Colorado are not consistently, widely or even transparently communicated to the public online -- and that concerns a growing number of healthcare providers. Among them is Dr. Ken Finn, a Colorado Springs physician whose group practice,...
One year ago, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper claimed on national television that since the state sanctioned recreational marijuana use, there was no increase in teenage use of the drug and black-market sales had shrunk. His claims have been repeated thousands of...
Researchers reporting in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) have found that both adolescent cannabis use and cigarette use are associated with increased risk of psychosis. The association was greater for cannabis, according to their study,...
The latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health contains good, bad and ugly news. I'll take it from the top -- and focus on youth marijuana use in Colorado, where I serve as medical director of one of the state's largest adolescent addiction-treatment programs...
A new review of nearly 14,000 research articles and studies has found there is little to no evidence that cannabis alleviates chronic pain in adults. The full report, funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Quality Enhancement Research Initiative and...
Smart Colorado, a nonprofit organization focused on protecting youth from the harmful effects of marijuana use and legalization, has produced a video featuring perspectives that often don't make it into news coverage. In Colorado, marijuana use among adolescents...
After a review of more than 10,000 peer-reviewed academic articles, The National Academies of Science (NAS) has concluded that marijuana use is related to several health problems, including: - mental health problems, such as suicidal thought, psychosis and social...
Resources for families
- Clearing the Haze: Helping Families Face Teen Addiction
- Reefer Sanity: 7 Great Myths About Marijuana
- Marijuana Debunked: A Handbook for Parents, Pundits and Politicians Who Want to Know the Case Against Legalization
- A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction
- The strong association between marijuana use and psychosis
Addiction Treatment for Adolescents
These links are not program endorsements. However, these programs may be a helpful start for your search.
- Substance Abuse Treatment, Education and Prevention – Denver Health
- ARTS – University of Colorado
- The Cornerstone Program