Parents, if you found marijuana in your child’s room, would you be able to identify it? Let’s discuss its characteristics. Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, or seeds of a cannabis sativa plant. The words marijuana and cannabis are often used interchangeably. Throughout the years, the level of THC in marijuana has continually gone up. The levels of THC in the marijuana throughout the 1970s-1990s was about 13%. However, the THC levels of today’s marijuana can be as high as 99%.
How is marijuana ingested into the body? People who use marijuana may roll loose marijuana leaves into a cigarette- called a joint. Others may smoke it in a pipe or water pipe. It’s often mixed into foods called edibles. Another popular method on the rise is vaping THC. Researchers have found that the use of marijuana and other drugs usually peaks in the late teens and early twenties. Therefore, marijuana use among our teens remains a natural concern for parents and is the focus of research- specifically on its impact on brain development which continues through a person’s early twenties.
What are the effects marijuana has on the body? THC is structurally similar to chemicals produced naturally by the body called endocannabinoids which play a role in normal brain development function. Because of the endocannabinoid system, marijuana can have multiple effects not just on the brain but on the entire body. Some of these effects are short-term and last only as long as marijuana is in the body. Some of these effects are attention and memory problems that can hinder the learning process, poor coordination and motor skills, anxiety, paranoia and even psychosis. However, if there is continued use over a longer period of time, it can cause long-term problems that can last a lifetime. Examples include risk of chronic cough or bronchitis, recurring episodes of severe nausea and vomiting, and risk of addiction. Marijuana is harmful to the brain and the body. The best way to know how marijuana will affect your body is to not use it at all because it only takes one time to become addicted. Visit us on Facebook @Compact2020 and on our website www.compact2020.com for more strategies aimed at reducing substance misuse and promoting mental wellness. You can also call us on our parent talk line, 205-605-1827. †