There are many rites of passage in the life of a teenager: getting a driver license, their first serious girlfriend, prom, etc. However, one rite of passage that has been quite popular for many years is the use of marijuana. The story of weed and teens is not a new one; in fact, it has been ingrained into our pop culture through film and song. While all of this is meant to present using weed as a harmless pastime, many teens and adults are still unaware that the effects of weed can have a very negative effect on teenagers.
There have been many debates over weed and adolescent development about what the effects of weed will produce. What may surprise many is that weed itself will not cause death. Weed is not a plant that is fatal to the human body. It does not produce any of the lethal effects that cocaine, heroin, and most recently meth can. In fact, many states have begun to allow the use of weed to treat chronic as well as terminal diseases. The real dangers involved with weed are not anything that can be attributed to the plant itself, but rather what effects that the plant can produce on the human brain.
Weed is known as a depressant. It lowers ambition as well as diminishes rational thought. This is where the problem lies with weed and adolescent development. The high that weed produces among teenagers is powerful. It can produce a greater high among teenagers because of the fact that they are still developing. While that effect is greatly enhanced so is the other one. Weed tends to impair brain function, which can make it difficult for a teenager to learn new things. Teenagers do not have the same drive that adults do, because many have yet to develop it yet. When a teenager’s ability to learn is impaired it is more likely that they will give up rather than to try to overcome the difficulty. This inability to learn may cause the teenager to either give up on his education or squeak by with minimal effort and cause them to leave school with little to no practical skills to survive in the real world. As the teenager grows into adulthood, they will come to depend on weed more and more to cope with their unfulfilled lives. This could lead to severe depression and possibly even suicide down the road.
One of the other effects of weed is the lowering of inhibitions (remember weed is a depressant after all). So what does this do? With lower inhibitions, teens are more likely to engage in sex quicker, which can lead to unplanned pregnancies. Another side effect of having lower inhibitions is that they are more likely to take risks that they would never have considered before. Since weed is not free, a teenager will have to come up with a way to pay for it. The most common way involves theft. This can lead to legal problems at a very young age.
It is obvious that the effects of weed on a teenager can be quite severe. If you suspect that a teenager may be using weed, talk to them about getting help. Do not let drugs ruin a person’s life before it begins.