Don't Supply It - Marijuana
Providing marijuana to anyone under the age of 21 is Illegal and can be detrimental to a young persons health and brain development.
The teen years represent a time of critical brain development. Areas of the brain that control decision making and learning are maturing. A youth’s brain is uniquely vulnerable to the negative effects of any substance, including marijuana. Based on current science, youths who use marijuana are at increased risk for both short - and potential long-term negative outcomes.
Data from the Illinois Youth Survey for DuPage County shows 9% of 10th graders and 19% of 12th graders reported using marijuana in last 30 days.
Data from the Illinois Youth Survey for DuPage County shows that 32% of 10th graders and 46% of 12th graders believe there is little or no risk associated with using marijuana once or twice a week.
Beginning January 1, 2020 marijuana use will be legal for adult use for those 21 and over in Illinois. It is more important than ever for youth to have accurate information to help them make healthy choices. Parents, guardians and other trusted adults are important sources of information for youth.
• Impaired short-term memory, attention, reaction time and motor skills.
• Impaired learning and success in school.
• High levels of THC in marijuana can cause anxiety, paranoia, rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure and vomiting.
• Driving under the influence of marijuana increases the risk of getting into a car crash. Marijuana impairs the skills that are needed to drive safely, including reaction time, coordination, concentration and visual and auditory processing.
The harmful effects of marijuana use on a young person’s brain may impact their educational and professional goals and ultimate success in life. Research shows that youth who start using before 18 or who use marijuana regularly may be at higher risk for:
• Skipping class
• Poor school performance
• Not graduating from high school
• Dropping out of college
Mental Health Effects:
• Rates of anxiety, depression, suicide and schizophrenia are higher with marijuana use.
• Rates of using other illegal drugs (see graph below) are higher with marijuana use.
• Marijuana dependence can develop.
Other Health Effects:
Like tobacco, smoking marijuana is harmful to the lungs. The smoke from marijuana has many of the same toxins and chemicals found in tobacco smoke, and when inhaled can increase the risk of developing lung problems such as the fatal vaping related lung disease.
WHAT CAN A CONCERNED PARENT DO?
Teens care about what parents say and do. One of the key reasons teens choose not to use drugs is because their parents don’t approve.
- Express a no-use attitude. A national study showed that when youth believe that their parents strongly disapprove of marijuana use, they are more likely to NOT use it compared to youth who believe their parents don’t disapprove (4.1% vs 29.3% respectively).
- Set clear guidelines for healthy behaviors & expectations.
- Talk about how important healthy behaviors are and establish clear and specific rules about not using marijuana and other drugs. This can be part of a broader conversation about your family’s expectations and rules for things like showing respect for family members, following laws and school regulations, and curfews.
- Provide consistent consequences when your child does not meet family guidelines. Remember to provide compliments for good choices and healthy behavior.
- Be positive. Be attentive, curious, respectful, loving and understanding. Shame, anger, scare tactics or disappointment will be counter-productive. Focus on how using marijuana gets in the way of achieving goals, rather than focusing on the potential negative outcomes.
- Start early! Talk often:
- Since marijuana use often begins in the early teen years, start an ongoing conversation about drug use before middle school.
- Be sure to listen carefully to your child’s questions and thoughts.
- Make your family’s expectations about marijuana use clear
- and specific. Set your no-use expectation early in the conversation.
- Ideas for talking to tweens:
- What do you know about marijuana?
- Do you know that marijuana can hurt your health and get in the way of your goals?
- Marijuana use is against the law for anyone under 21 years old.
- We want you to do well in school, so we have a family rule against using drugs, including marijuana.