Substance Abuse in Teens: The Problem with Medical Marijuana

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Substance abuse in teens becomes even more complex with the introduction of medical marijuana. Why? For many teens it is a mixed message.  If marijuana is a drug, why is it legal? For some teens, the concept of medical marijuana has become an excuse to justify their usage of the drug.  For other teens, a loved one with a prescription for medical marijuana leaves them with the impression that it is accessible.

Medical Marijuana in the Home

Families living in households where someone has been prescribed medical marijuana must be careful to keep the substance completely out of access to teens. The temptation for teens to experiment becomes all too close to fruition with the knowledge that the drug is in the home and accessible. To add, the legality of medical marijuana has led many teens to mistakenly believe that this means that it is okay for them to use marijuana and that the substance is harmless and has no repercussions.

The Medical Marijuana Substance Abuse Justification

Substance abuse in teens appears to be correlated to their perception of how safe substances are. The good news is that teen substance abuse for synthetic drugs has decreased in recent years but this has also led to an increase in marijuana use in teens. Teens have begun to view the substance as safer and safer due to big changes such as the legality of medical marijuana and the wider spread open admittance of marijuana use from a number of public figures and celebrities. The problem is that marijuana is still a drug, and substance abuse can still be harmful.

Substance Abuse in Teens

Speak to your teen about the dangers of marijuana usage, even for medicinal reasons. Explain the concept of medical marijuana thoroughly by including such information as who it is reserved for and why. The clients who are prescribed medical marijuana are usually individuals experiencing great pain or suffering such as chronic pain sufferers or even sufferers of serious diseases. Medical marijuana may be compared to prescription medication. Prescription medication can be a great help to the clients who are in need of them; however, prescription drug abuse is incredibly dangerous and can lead to such issues as health consequences, psychological consequences, addiction or even death.

Teens are at the greatest risk for substance abuse due to such factors as peer pressure and immaturity. Speak openly and honestly to keep up quality communication regarding substance abuse in teens. Be ready and willing to answer their questions and let them know that they don’t need drugs – marijuana or others to fit in or be accepted by their peers.

The medical marijuana debate and movement present challenges to parents of teens, but these challenges can be dealt with through open and honest communication.  If your teen has access to someone who is using marijuana for medical use, encourage that individual to speak with your teen about their condition and how they view marijuana similar to other prescription drugs.