Stop teens from using weed


Photo credit: Briana Mcdaniel

Americans have downplayed the effects of marijuana use, to the point that most people believe it has no harmful effects on the human body at all.

This has led to an increased popularity in marijuana use among teens.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the majority of high school seniors do not think occasional marijuana smoking is harmful.

This year, 31.9 percent said that they believe marijuana puts users at risk, compared to 78.6 percent in 1991.

As a sister to a current high school senior, I can say that these numbers seem pretty accurate.

Through the media, legalization of marijuana in certain states and overall lack of information when it comes to negative effects of using, we have painted this picture assuming they will be fine, as long as all they’re doing is smoking marijuana.

What ever happened to that “above the influence” campaign I saw as a teenager?

Marijuana is still a classified drug for a reason. It has effects on a person’s mental state. Long-term users are likely to develop poor mental health, low life satisfaction and poor physical health.

Among high school seniors, 79.5 percent say that it is easy to obtain marijuana, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

This means that not only are we sending the message that it’s harmless to use, but it has become extremely easy to obtain.

A study showed that people who started smoking marijuana heavily in their teenage years and continued to do so lost an average of eight IQ points between the ages of 13 and 38.

By not teaching teens about the harmful effects of marijuana use, we are essentially supporting it.

Marijuana smoke irritates the lungs. Frequent marijuana smokers have been shown to have the same breathing problems as tobacco smokers.

What many people refuse to believe is that marijuana users can become addicted. Well, that is not the case.

People who begin using marijuana before age 18 are four to seven times more likely than adults to develop a problem use.

If you think about all the brain development that goes on in our early teenage years, it isn’t hard to imagine why the use of marijuana could have a negative effect on our mental health.

Before the ’50s, rarely anyone linked tobacco smoking to lung cancer. Everyone knew tobacco smoking would have certain negative effects on their bodies, but the world didn’t stress these negative effects until an epidemic was reached, according to the history department at Stanford University.

In today’s world, those buying a pack of cigarettes can see the negative effects written the box.

Years from today, when all the teenagers who are heavy users become adults, perhaps we too will see the negative effects of marijuana use to a greater degree.

But why let things come to this if we can inform our friends and younger family members right now?

Teens should be using this time in their lives to get outdoors, build relationships with friends and work toward becoming college-bound. Sadly, many are too concerned with getting high.

Mina Marjanovic can be reached at [email protected] or @marjanovicmina6 on Twitter.