With legal marijuana now being sold and marketed in our community, it’s more important than ever that we protect youth from early experimentation. The adolescent brain is unique, growing, and changing daily, and it’s these conditions that allow addiction to set in much more quickly in teens than adults. Also adding to the dangers are high potency marijuana and products like edibles and vapes. The average THC content (the substance that gets you high) in marijuana today has skyrocketed since the 60s, making it stronger and more likely to jumpstart addiction in our vulnerable teens. When the risks of increased access to THC-packed edibles, gummies, and vape cartridges are added to the mix, it’s a recipe for addiction.
The good news is that marijuana rates among youth in the Northland are currently low and we can help keep it that way:
- Make sure kids in your life know you care about their mental health and well-being. That’s why you don’t want them to use marijuana or any other substances! Set clear expectations that they will stay marijuana-free.
- Ensure any cannabis products are not accessible to youth.
- Help youth gain the confidence to say “no” to marijuana by practicing scenarios and brainstorming what they might say if they are offered marijuana. Prepare your kids for peer pressure and let them know they can come to you for help.
- Watch for any early signs or symptoms of marijuana use. Be on alert for changes in behaviors, friend groups, or attitudes. Some warning signs include: Glassy, red eyes, slurred speech, dry mouth, a “skunky” smell, anxiety, a drop in grades, quitting activities, and difficulty thinking and problem solving.
Most addiction starts in adolescence: 90% of adults in the U.S. with a drug addiction starting using before age 18, making this the most important time to prevent experimentation with drugs. As adults, we have the power to help protect our kids and prevent addiction, and Parent Up is here to help! Check out all of our marijuana-specific resources here!