Marijuana is often seen as a harmless drug, despite being considered as a Schedule I drug, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). It’s true that some men and women who have used the drug for many years never experience any serious consequences. Yet, marijuana has been associated with crime, drinking, and addictions to other substances.
Also, studies show that if an adult started to use marijuana in adolescence, he or she is more likely to develop an addiction. A 2010 article in the Los Angeles Times pointed out that 9% of people who use the drug develop an addiction to it. This is compared to 15% of people who become addicted to cocaine and alcohol. And research indicates that the earlier a person begins to use the drug, the more likely he or she will become dependent on it. Also, dependency will develop within two years for 17% of those who began smoking marijuana at ages 14 or 15.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)’s February 2014 report of drug use in Los Angeles County, marijuana was reported as “the primary drug problem” with 27.2% of drug rehab treatment admissions for marijuana addiction or dependency. Plus, more than half (59%) of drug rehab treatment admissions were for teens. Furthermore, marijuana was identified in 30.8% of drug reports analyzed in laboratories. Lastly, marijuana ranked second in the list of illicit drugs reported in the poison control system.
Although it is a so-called harmless drug, adults and teens alike are developing dependence to the drug. Compare the above statistics to the numbers for June 2013: Marijuana use ranked higher than alcohol as the reason for treatment admission. Marijuana ranked number one as the reason for admission to a drug rehab treatment center at 27% of admissions. Plus, marijuana admissions showed an increase over the 2011 report at 25%. Of drug seizures across Los Angeles County, 35% of those were marijuana, among various illicit drugs.
Edible forms of marijuana make 40% of marijuana sales in the state of California, and are typically the form for first-time users of the drug use. The state is now examining its laws around the teen marijuana use. They are not attempting to retract legalizing it but officials want to be more cautious about how teens are taking the drug, how often, and the effects its having.
Experts are particularly concerned that the use of edible marijuana could easily emphasize marijuana as a gateway drug for teens and children. According to the Journal of American Medical Association, 14 children under the age of 12 ended up in the hospital after taking in the edible form of the drug between 2009 and 2011.
Whether an addiction develops because of smoking or ingesting the drug, finding teen drug treatment for a teen marijuana use or dependency is possible. There are teen drug rehab treatment facilities that not only focus on alcohol dependency but also the facilitating the freedom from an addiction to marijuana. Despite its reputation for being a safe and harmless drug, marijuana does in fact lead to addiction and can create the same destructive lifestyle that comes with any dependency.
In fact, considering adult or teen marijuana use to be harmless, in a sense, makes it more dangerous. A teen using the drug may not be able to make the connection between some of its ill effects on school, home life, and peer interactions. He or she might be looking for a quick high, a release of stress, but the effects of the drug have proven to lead to an addiction.
If this is the case, finding a teen drug rehab treatment is necessary in order to break the cycle. Teen marijuana use might be harmless to start but over time, addiction can sink its roots into life, creating dysfunction and loss. Teen drug rehab is often the only way to cut those roots once the cycle of addiction begins.
By Robert Hunt
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