“Alcohol, tobacco and prescription drugs, though legal, are often abused. People can get these substances whether they are of age or not, and the same thing is happening with marijuana. Walking through almost any neighborhood, one can smell marijuana everywhere. Dena Gorkin, educator, founder, and principal of Bnos Chomesh Academy high school for girls recalls walking down the street with her twelve-year-old daughter and her daughter said, “Smell that, Mom? That’s marijuana.”
There was a time when twelve-year-olds did not know what marijuana was, but now they know what it is and how to recognize it. With any substance that is potentially addictive, it is important that adults give children information. Adults must teach children about real dangers.
At the same time, it is very important to not give them exaggerated information. If a child or teenager is warned, “One marijuana joint will melt your brains and you’ll never be able to concentrate in school again,” they may try it anyway to see what happens. When what they were told inevitably does not happen, the adult loses all credibility and from that point on, any information that adult tells a child about other drugs or substances is potentially ignored because it is deemed unreliable. False information is not an effective way of keeping children away from drugs and other harmful substances.
Different people react in different ways just as they do with alcohol. Not everybody has the same reaction. However, some common reactions have been observed. One common reaction is people becoming very desensitized. Clinically, this is called “Amotivational syndrome.” Amotivational syndrome means a person has little or no desire to do anything – whether it is working, socializing or even completing simple tasks.
Family therapist Dr. Miriam Gross explains that when we combine this syndrome with a teenager’s developing brain, serious developmental issues arise. Teenage marijuana use affects memory, learning, and interpersonal relationships. Teenagers are still learning how to perform in life as they are discovering what they are good at. They need to put significant effort into their studies. They are learning how friendships work and are beginning to understand the dynamics of healthy friendships. These are the building blocks for a successful life. When a person becomes unmotivated, life becomes difficult, and this is particularly true for a teenager.
Marijuana use that begins in the teenage years has been associated with lower career success and income, as well as an increase in problems with interpersonal relationships. When teenagers use marijuana, it permanently affects their developing brain, which, in turn, impacts the rest of their lives.
Read the full article at BK Reader