Most parents keep the lines of communication open with their kids about underage drinking and the dangers involved with street drugs and prescription medications but there are some parents less worried about the use of marijuana. Some parents feel marijuana is safer than street drugs like heroin, cocaine and meth and aren't as concerned if they find out their teen is smoking pot.
A lot of parents themselves smoke marijuana today and that's part of the reason they're less concerned and feel it's much safer.
Many teens in general feel marijuana is a safer drug too, they feel that pot is harmless because it's a natural substance that's even used medically today. Many young people feel marijuana isn't as harmful as smoking cigarettes and that it's not addictive either. They don't realize that regular use of marijuana can lead to addiction and once a person becomes dependent, they can experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop.
We know so much more about the effects of marijuana today, we know that with regular long term use of marijuana a person can become addicted. The use of marijuana can cause problems with memory and concentration too. Due to marijuana's effects on certain parts of the brain, learning, doing complicated tasks and driving are also affected according to NIDA. The results of research that's been done on the effects of marijuana show that even after the "acute effects" of marijuana wears off, the negative effects associated with learning, attention and memory can lasts for "days or weeks".
Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms
We also know that when a person stops using marijuana if they're addicted they can experience cravings, anxiety, irritability, mood changes, and problems with sleep which are all symptoms people trying to quit have reported.
Driving While Under the Influence of Marijuana
We know that marijuana impairs a person's reaction time and affects their coordination and judgment. This increases a person's chance of having an accident if they're operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of pot. According to a teen driving study from Liberty Mutual Insurance, not only is the use of marijuana increasing among teens, 1 in 5 teen driver's report they've "driven under the influence of marijuana".
Signs of Marijuana Use
Some concerned parents want to know if there are signs to look for that may indicate their child is using marijuana. Some of the more common signs of marijuana use include, bloodshot red eyes, the use of eye drops such as Visine, a smell on their clothing, in their room or vehicle, drug paraphernalia such as rolling papers, roach clips, bongs or pipes, the use of incense is common or air fresheners to cover up the smell of marijuana, having the 'munchies' and being hungry more than normal, being silly and giddy for no apparent reason, and finding dried leaves and stems greenish brown in color hidden in baggies or other containers.
Today there are various kinds of herbal mixtures sold that produce similar effects of marijuana and some of the many different names include K2, Yucatan Fire, Skunk and Moon Rocks. In order to get past the legalities, these products are labeled "not for human consumption". Examples include K2, Yucatan Fire, Skunk and Moon Rocks. Chemical additives are combined in dried and shredded plant material which is responsible for the mind-altering effects people experience when they use the synthetic weed.
These herbal mixtures are commonly referred to as 'spice' and young people think they're safe and harmless too. According to NIDA the following symptoms have been reported from spice users that have been taken to Poison Control Centers:
- Rapid heart rate
Fake pot is just as dangerous, earlier this year nbcmiami.com ran a story about a 15 year old that had to be resuscitated after he smoked laced marijuana. He was in intensive care for twenty four hours after smoking what he calls "mango cheese" at school. He said his legs began to go numb, he saw flashes in his eyes and he fell down.