A recent Yale study concluded that marijuana is, in fact, a gateway drug. The study focused on data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from the years 2006, 2007 and 2008 of young adults aged 18-25 years old. It found that out of the 12 percent that admitted to abusing prescription drugs, 34 percent said that they had used marijuana in the past. It also revealed that alcohol and cigarettes proved to be gateway substances as well. It also found that those who had previously used marijuana were 2.5 times more likely to use prescription opioids. This study can be viewed online in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
Marijuana Isn’t What It Used To Be
The potency of marijuana continues to get more powerful. The University of Mississippi’s Potency Monitoring Project tests thousands of samples of seized marijuana plants every year. The project found that while most levels of THC (the chemical in marijuana that produces the high) topped off at 15 or 16 percent, some samples had levels exceeding 30 percent. This is a dramatic increase compared to 4 percent of THC reportedly found in marijuana in 1983. With marijuana being one of the first drugs experimented with as a child or young adult, it is no wonder why many users may move on to other harder drugs.
Signs Of Marijuana Use
If you are concerned that a friend or loved one may be smoking pot, there are several indicators to look for. Dilated pupils and red, bloodshot eyes are very common in someone who has just used marijuana. They may seem dizzy and have trouble keeping their balance. They may also act silly and giggly for no obvious reason and may feel extremely hungry or sleepy. You may also come across evidence of the drug as well as drug paraphernalia such as rolling papers and pipes. Some additional changes in a person’s behavior may include:
• Withdrawal from friends and family
• Constant fatigue or tiredness
• Lack of personal hygiene
• Hostility towards people and relationships
• Changes in academic performances
• Loss of interest in favorite activities
• Changes in eating or sleeping habits
Someone who uses marijuana daily may create a dependency on the drug and need to use it just to feel normal and get through the day. This can cause many problems and adverse effects including memory loss. Long term use can also affect the ability to learn and problem solve. It can also cause anxiety, depression and mood swings as well as more physical effects such as breathing problems and even cancer.
The organization narconon.com suggests that by intervening and stopping marijuana use before it gets out of control, we can hope to decrease the amount of kids who move on to experiment with other drugs. The best way to do this is to inform children and young adults about the dangers of using marijuana and other drugs and give them alternative activities to become involved in.
Parents and other community members should also make sure that the locals schools have a drug prevention program that educates kids on the dangers of marijuana and other drugs.
Lastly as parents it is important to communicate to your child about drugs and their addictive natures and side effects. If the situation does occur that you find your child using drugs, get them immediate help for the problem.
The narconon.com facility offers a long term program with a very high success rate for permanent sobriety from drugs. For more information contact us today.