These days, marijuana is a hot topic of debate amongst the younger generation because of its widespread controversy in our day-to-day lives. We hear about college student activist groups advocating for its legalization in their states. We see it criminalized all over the news. We hear about its medicinal uses and benefits for patients with anxiety or insomnia. So it’s no surprise that amidst all the discussion, that the adolescent population would start to form their own opinions about the drug and its use. However, more often than not, their stances are misinformed. The following is a list of four lies teens tend to believe about marijuana.
1. It’s Going to Make Me Cool
Adolescence is a trivial time when everything in a child’s life is now changing for the first time; their bodies, their brains, and essentially everything they thought they knew about themselves. Adolescence is a time for self-discovery and the largest component of that journey is the incessant need for social acceptance by others. That being said, this makes teens especially susceptible to peer pressure and, unfortunately, many do fall victim to it. They believe that smoking marijuana will make them belong to a certain group of friends. In addition, they believe it will enhance their social image.
Adolescence is also a time when kids begin to rebel against authority and challenge their parents and teachers because they believe that they know better than they do. Therefore, they think that smoking will add another layer to their angsty appearance when in reality, smoking marijuana in those early years of either middle school or high school generally results in other risk-taking behavior, habitual use and a steady decline in school grades.
2. It’s Not Nearly as Bad as Smoking Cigarettes
Wrong. While there is much debate over which substance does less harm to your body, the bottom line is this: smoking any substance results in some form of harm to your body. For example, smoking marijuana results in four times as much tar in your lungs than cigarette smoke .
3. It’s a Plant, Therefore It’s Nonaddictive
While marijuana is a natural product, unlike cocaine or ecstasy, you can technically argue the same point for excessive sleeping or overeating. The main issue is that you are using something to cope with or escape a particular stressor in your life, which is the premise that addiction is built on. Too much of anything is never a good thing. It’s true what they say, everything in moderation. While there is still controversy over whether or not marijuana is a physically addictive substance, if you find you are using it to deal with the stress of school, avoid family problems or to cope with depression during adolescence, you are exhibiting characteristics of an addictive personality.
4. I Can’t Go to Rehab for Pot
On the contrary, the majority of the adolescents in our drug rehabilitation programs are there for marijuana usage. Teenagers often enter our facility with the preconceived notion that they shouldn’t be there, that pot smoking is not a big deal. Only in time do they begin to realize that marijuana use, especially when coupled with mental or emotional illness such as depression or bipolar disorder, often contributes to feelings of instability and more often than not, acts as a gateway drug. Before they know it, they are entering our facility for more than just pot smoking.
While it’s true that there is currently much controversy regarding the pros and cons of marijuana usage, it is important to remember that every person’s brain chemistry is different and what might work medicinally for one individual might not work for another. For teens, it is especially important to know the facts since they are in the midst of an especially emotionally unstable period in their lives. When you add in the fact that their brains are not fully developed yet, the presence of a mind-altering drug can often be more detrimental than teens may be led to believe.
 "Marijuana." American Lung Association: Fighting for Air. Retrieved December 12, 2014, from http://www.lung.org/associations/states/colorado/tobacco/marijuana.html