Does Pot Really Make Teens Dull?

The stereotype of the dull and dazed pot smoker is one seen across countless movies and television shows. But is there any evidence to support that the use of marijuana can dull the brain of a teenager?

If your troubled teen is smoking pot, you may have several questions and concerns surrounding this behavior. Addressing this potential for long-term health consequences is an important part of understanding how your teen’s use of marijuana can impact them.

What does science say about teens and marijuana use?

While your teen may not fit the stereotypical laid-back hippie stoner with a van, there is no doubt that the use of marijuana can impact a teen’s ability to focus. It can also potentially impact memory. That said, studies have proven inconclusive when it comes to determining just what the long-term effects of marijuana are on the teenage brain.

Short-term effects have been better observed, including the following.

  • Problems with problem-solving and thinking rationally.
  • Short-term memory problems and issues retaining new memories.
  • Struggles with coordination, similar to the impaired coordination seen while under the influence of alcohol.
  • Problems with maintaining focus and struggling to keep focused attention.

Marijuana is known for being a psychoactive drug, which means that it can be mind-altering and can provide users with that intoxicating effect they are searching for. The cognitive changes that it can cause can last for several weeks after the drug was last used. In other words, the effects of the drug on the brain can last long after the person is no longer feeling intoxicated.

What about long-term use? One thing that is not entirely clear is whether the effects of pot linger past a few weeks of stopping use. Extended use of the drug is

What about pot’s potential to harm the brain for the rest of your troubled teen’s life? Several factors should be considered before a decision can be made. It should be considered that those who have a genetic vulnerability may be at an increased risk for developing mental illnesses that they may not have otherwise fallen into.

Studies have shown that troubled teens who use pot are at an increased risk for developing psychosis and schizophrenia. This can be frightening for both teens and parents. It can be managed, however, once identified.

While marijuana use is being legalized across more states, there is still a lack of information about how it can impact teens in both the short and long-term. The risks of a teenager using pot may extend past its ability to dull their senses and impact their memory.

Other concerns to be aware of when your teen is using marijuana

There is a school of thought that leans to marijuana not being as bad of a drug to use and abuse as other illegal drugs are. Certainly, this is indicated by the legalization of marijuana across several states. Countless tout the benefits of regular marijuana use for the treatment of several health concerns.

That said, it is not legal for cannabis products to be used by anyone under the age of 18. And with a lack of solid evidence about how it impacts the still developing teen brain, it should not be encouraged.

There are some other concerns that parents of troubled teens should be aware of when it comes to pot use.

  • Addiction to marijuana, along with the other concerns that accompany addiction.
  • A transition to other drug use, along with alcohol use.
  • Legal concerns, which could be related to being caught with pot or other drugs. They could also be due to getting caught stealing or engaging in other illegal activities.
  • Depression and anxiety. Some see an increase in panic attacks after smoking pot.
  • Difficulties with school can become a concern, mainly due to struggling with memory and concentration.
  • Driving while under the influence of marijuana can be just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated after drinking alcohol. Traffic accidents and even life-threatening concerns can become an issue.
  • Risky behaviors with multiple sex partners, including unprotected sex.
  • The worsening of existing mental health concerns.

There is also the potential for interactions with some prescription medications. This could be troublesome, depending on the drug that your troubled teen is taking.

Having a troubled teen who uses marijuana, whether smoking or vaping, can be difficult for parents. Their behavior could potentially have financial and legal repercussions for parents. It could also take a toll on the other family members, particularly on impressionable younger siblings.

How can you help a troubled teen struggling with pot?

If you suspect that your teen is using pot, there are some signs that you could look out for to confirm your suspicions.

  • Behavior that is out of character. This could include acting silly, angry, or dismissive and aggressive.
  • Use of new words related to marijuana, including 420, dabbing, sparking up, and more.
  • An increase in irritability and aggression.
  • A loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed.
  • Struggling to remember things that just occurred.
  • Having red eyes and an increase in appetite.
  • Stealing money and personal property.
  • Seeing pot-smoking paraphernalia, including lights, rolling papers, and pipes.

It could be that you’ve caught your teen using pot. You may be feeling overwhelmed and unsure about what your next steps should be.

  • Family and individual therapy can be incredibly helpful. There may be some underlying concerns that can be addressed in therapy.
  • Stay calm, rational, and don’t engage with your troubled teen when emotions are running high. This can potentially make things worse for everyone involved.
  • Don’t take responsibility for your troubled teen’s drug use. Skip the guilt and rather focus on ensuring everyone in the family gets the help that they need.

The good news is that you don’t have to go through this on your own. There are many resources to help troubled teens and their families get through challenging times.

Call us at Help Your Teen Now to be connected with the resources that can help your family. A residential treatment center can help your troubled teen in a safe environment that focuses on the needs of the individual. With the guidance of licensed mental health professionals, your teen can learn how to focus on valuable coping skills in a structured environment.

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