Family Magazine

Teens And Pot

By Joanigeltman @joanigeltman

 Teens and pot, not so good, Adults and pot, whatever turns you on. I have had a number of letters from parents recently worried about their teens use of pot. It seems that their teens have defended their use with a variety of rationalizations. Some of my favorites include; " I can think better, I can drive better, even the cops don't care, it relaxes me so I can concentrate better on my homework, you should be happy, at least I'm not drinking alcohol!" Unfortunately this is the drug talking. And thats the point, pot is all about distortion. That's what the 60's were all about, and why the lava lamp was invented! Today's pot however is nothing like the pot of my youth. Research shows that the amount of THC in boomer pot was 2-3%.Today's pot has 90% THC. That is a lot of high!!!!!  Luckily we adults who might want to indulge can go to a dispensary, describe the kind of hight we want and make an informed decision. They literally make pot now called Dad Grass, for people who want to get mellow without the high. Unfortunately not only do kids not have access to dispensaries, but most do not understand exactly what pot is, what's in it, or if it is safe....cause mostly they don't care, and probably would be to afraid to come to you for info cause they know you might not like to have a deep dive on the varieties of pot on the market. I mean would you?

Adolescence is all about new experiences and experimentation. It is a cruel law of nature that tempts teens to try all sorts of new things just at a time in their lives when their brain is engaging in a major growth spurt. Teens live in a world of what you see is what you get. With alcohol you see the fruits of your labor literally in the toilet bowl if you're lucky, otherwise in someone's car or basement. You worship the porcelain temple and then you pass out. With pot the effects are less obvious and more hidden. Pot gives you the illusion of feeling in control but what you're teen is missing is what is going on in the depths of their brain. As with all experimentation, some kids might try pot and see it as a treat every now and then, and others will begin to use more regularly. In either case it is important to talk with them about it.
A little science lesson here. There are receptors in the brain that just love THC, the chemical in pot. These receptors are connected to two very important parts of the brain. The Hippocampus, which is responsible for memory and learning, and the Cerebellum that controls balance and coordination. In short, regular use of pot can cause problems with thinking and problem solving (the hippocampus) and distorted perception of sight, sound and loss of motor coordination. (the cerebellum) So much for the driving rationale. Responding to lights, sound and reaction time are all distorted.
Pot is especially attractive to teens because it relaxes them, mellows out their stress, and if they are someone who struggles with anxiety, pot can be a wonderful new best friend. There is nothing more uncomfortable than feeling anxious, and once a teen who suffers with anxiety tries pot, a love affair begins.
Talking with your teen about pot requires finesse, and the power of understanding. Here is your I Get It moment. You can say to your teen" I get how pot would be attractive to you. I know you are stressed out, and it makes you feel relaxed and mellow. But here is what you don't know." At this point instead of sermonizing and lecturing, either read these articles to them or have them read it in your presence.
The first is a link to a very straight forward Q&A about pot. If you choose to lecture, your teen will think this is your opinion and probably just stop listening, thinking that they know more than you about this particular subject. So real science is always good in this situation. Now I am sure that you will get resistence here. And here is how you might handle this. " I am worried that you don't feel that pot affects your judgement, driving etc. You need to read this article and talk with me/us about it before we will allow you to drive our car. It is important to us that you have the facts here. If we see a change in your grades, or your ability to concentrate on getting your work done, we will have to drug test you every now and then. We love you and want to make sure that you don't unknowingly jeopardize your health and your future.
The second link talks about new medical/psychological/cognitive issues they are seeing as a result of the increased amounts of THC in today's pot. Really portent (haha) information.
PS: Sometimes you just need a phone call worth of  help!!! A situation with your has arisen and you're not sure how to handle it. This is why I created: A Quick Question.  This is a one session strategy session designed to give you the help you need when you need it. Call me at 781-910-1770 or email me at:[email protected] to set up your consultation

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