Teenagers’ use of cannabis (weed, marijuana) is at its highest level in 30 years, and today they are more likely to use cannabis than cigarettes. In the US, it is illegal for children and teenagers to use marijuana. Many states allow recreational use of marijuana in adults 21 years of age and older. Today’s cannabis plants are grown differently than in the old days and can contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which makes people two to three times as high.
This article will summarize some crucial information that parents need to know about cannabis: what cannabis is, how they affect your child, and importantly how to protect and prevent your child effectively from it.
What is cannabis?
Cannabis is a chopped mixture of the cannabis Sativa plant with green-brown flowers, stems and dried leaves. A stronger form of cannabis, called hashish (hash), looks like brown or black cakes or balls. In recent years, the amount of THC (the active ingredient) in cannabis and cannabis products has increased dramatically.
Cannabis is usually rolled and smoked like a cigarette, or placed in an empty cigar/pipe. Recently, the use of cannabis or cannabis extracts by vape, prepared as food or brewing tea, has become increasingly popular.
There is also “synthetic cannabis” – an artificially banned substance chemically similar to THC – that can be dangerously strong, leading to death if overdose. The names of these banned substances include “K2”, “Spice”, “Joker”, “Skunk” and “Herbal Incense”.
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Cannabis short-term responses
When your child smoke cannabis, the active ingredient THC travels from the lungs into the bloodstream, then stops in the brain and other organs. High is the result of THC’s effect on the nerve cells that control sensory perception and pleasure.
THC also connects to receptors on nerve cells in other parts of the brain involved in thought, memory, coordination, and concentration. This could cause undesirable side effects, including:
- Difficulty in thinking and problem solving
- Problems with memory and learning
- Loss of coordination
Although these side effects are temporary, they are dangerous, such as causing traffic accidents while driving.
Other short-term harms of cannabis include:
- Increased appetite
- Feeling light-headed or drowsy
- Inhibitions reduced
The life-long effect of cannabis on your child
Research has shown that people who use cannabis over a long time may experience
more long-term side effects. For example:
- Changes in the brain: Cannabis can affect your child’s parts of the brain that are responsible for our memory, multitasking, and attention span.
- Fertility problems: Studies on animals show that high consumption of cannabis can reduce sperm count in men and slow ovulation in women. Pregnant women who use cannabis are more likely to have children with behavioral and developmental problems.
- Respiratory problems: Teenagers who smoke a lot of cannabis can have respiratory problems –like mucus accumulation, chronic cough, and bronchitis.
- Immune system problems: Heavy use of cannabis can make it difficult for the body to fight off infections.
- Emotional problems: Teenagers who use a high amount of cannabis are reported to have signs of depression or anxiety. Cannabis can aggravate illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
Other problems with using cannabis:
- Legal issue: Under the national law in Vietnam, using/ storing/ trading any drugs will result in a fine ranging from fines to imprisonment.
- Career problem: People charged under the cannabis law will have criminal records will interfere with their plans to go to college or find work.
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What will your child’s body look like when quitting/stopping cannabis?
When people who use cannabis for a while and decide to try quitting it, they will
experience withdrawal symptoms like feeling irritated/ anxious/ depressed, having trouble
sleeping, loss of appetite.
Quitting cannabis can be similar to quitting caffeine: The first day or two will be bad,
but after that, the withdrawal symptoms subside. They usually go away a week or two after the user is no longer taking the drug.
Cannabis can be addictive. One in ten regular drug users may develop a “cannabis disorder”. These people cannot stop using cannabis even though it interferes with their
life. This is more likely to happen when users start using cannabis before the age of 18.
Studies show that a combination of individual counseling and group therapy sessions
is the best approach to quit using marijuana.
How can parents protect children from cannabis in the first place?
Cannabis use in adolescents can have long-term consequences. Your child rarely thinks they will have cannabis-related problems, so it’s important to start talking about these topics with your child earlier and continue with discussions and reminders of how negative effects of cannabis on them.
- Have intimate conversations with your child about drugs and cannabis, explain to your child how they will badly affect them. Why should the conversation be intimate? This knowledge is completely accessible at school in theoretical form, but they are often inherently not-easy-to-be-remembered, so, as a friend, show your friendliness.
Build a friendly sharing environment between your children and parents, talk to them about cannabis openly like two friends, and your children are both more receptive and trusting in you.
- If your child has used cannabis (or you doubted that): Try asking openly and curiously as your child will be more comfortable with not feeling judged.
However, education from school and family only plays a part, as a teenager, your child will feel very curious about everything around him. As a result, there will be a higher risk of experiencing something they’re curious about.
That’s is a reason why you need to protect your kids by using content filtering tools like CyberPurify, which will notify you when your child is searching for information about cannabis or other drugs, etc. from there help you have an on-time solution like talking to prevent too-late consequences. CyberPurify can also filter out harmful content reaching your child such as pornography, accidental bloody scenes, weapons etc.
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