Medical research is linking cannabis use to behavioral and cognitive changes reminiscent of psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression and anxiety disorder drugs.
A child is smoking skunk, a strain of cannabis whose THC content is much more potent than garden- variety pot . except that it has become garden variety, toxic 22 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content in some strains.
Any parent who has had to confront a child’s drug abuse is familiar with the drawn-out agony of despair, impotence, fear, grief and, while there is still a chance for recovery, hope.
That last is perhaps the most ravaging of all. Hope means you aren’t yet numb enough, not yet at peace with the chaos into which life has spilled, not yet so defeated and angry that you’re unable to try to help.
A psychiatrist can explain that the potency of THC in skunk can do untold and irreversible damage. They attend meetings of Families Anonymous. They withhold money from their son, who refuses rehab, but then they relent. The cycle plays itself out several times, with horrifying consequences.
For their children, smoking marijuana is not a harmless rite of passage but rather a dangerous game of Russian roulette.
The number of children and teenagers in treatment for marijuana dependence and abuse has jumped 142 percent since 1992, and the number of teen emergency room admissions in which marijuana is implicated is up almost 50 percent since 1999.
Though alcohol remains by far the teen substance of choice, teens are three times likelier to be in treatment for marijuana than for alcohol (and six times likelier to be in treatment for marijuana than for all other illegal drugs combined).
As has been true of tobacco since the 1960s, we’ve learned a lot about the dangers of marijuana since the 1970s.
The drug adversely affects short-term memory, the ability to concentrate and motor skills.
Recent studies indicate that it increases the likelihood of depression, schizophrenia and other serious mental health problems.
Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, has repeatedly expressed concern about the adverse impact of marijuana on the brain, a matter of particular moment for youngsters whose brains are still in the development stage.
Volkow has stated: There is no question marijuana can be addictive; that argument is over. The most important thing right now is to understand the vulnerability of young, developing brains to these increased concentrations of cannabis.