Pre and Young Teens Succumb to Message That Smoking Marijuana Is No Big Deal
Britain’s Daily Mail recently ran an article from the mother of a 12-year-old who told how her daughter’s friends are experimenting with marijuana and being expelled from school. Once confined to older teens and young adults, smoking marijuana is now more common among teens and pre-teens.
From states in the U.S. deciding to legalize marijuana to movie stars and rock stars being photographed using it, the message sounding loud and clear to youngsters is that smoking marijuana has no repercussions. The Daily Mail article recounted the stories of several pre-teens who had been either expelled from their private schools or who were using the drug off-campus to avoid expulsion. The obvious point was that young children were getting their hands on marijuana and seemed to have no worries about the consequences.
The British newspaper article did not hesitate to point fingers at singers like Lil Wayne and the late Amy Winehouse among others – stars who make no bones about using marijuana. Public icons, especially music icons, are influential for young teens and pre-teens. Their cavalier attitude and, in some cases, promotion of marijuana use, has more impact than many parents might like.
The article also reported on studies in the Commonwealth that have found that when a teen uses marijuana s/he becomes more at risk than alcoholics for developing mental illness. Teens who use pot also tend to have more problems with relationships and have a tougher time finding steady employment. These facts are lost on the pre-teen and early teenager who only knows that they want to be like the superstars they see on TV and splashed across online tabloids.
In Great Britain, one out of every eight arrests for dealing marijuana involves a child. Kids are smoking it. Kids are selling it. Kids don’t think marijuana is anything to stay away from. The facts, of course, are far different but evidently we aren’t getting the message through. There is too much confusion between what is being portrayed and what is being said.
The truth is that early marijuana use can increase the likelihood of later addictions. Teens who use marijuana run a greater risk of depression. One out of every 10 marijuana users will experience severe effects such as anxiety, paranoia and hallucinations. No one can say who will be in the 10 percent.
One of the researchers in Australia who investigated the outcomes for teens who decide to smoke marijuana said use of cannabis can negatively affect teens for years.