The St. Francois County Community Partnership (SFCCP) is launching a parent marijuana education program to discuss and inform parents of the negative and harmful effects that marijuana use has on children and young adults. The purpose of this program is to educate parents and children/young adults on the negative and harmful effects of marijuana use.
This data is for informational purposes only
MARIJUANA FACTS FOR PARENTS
Marijuana use compromises judgment, which can lead to engaging in risky behaviors and experiencing their negative consequences.
Marijuana can seriously affect a person’s sense of time and coordination, raising the risk of injury or death from car crashes or other accidents. These effects can last up to 24 hours after marijuana use.
In 2005, nearly 242,200 people were admitted to emergency rooms suffering from marijuana-related problems.
Research has demonstrated that young people who use marijuana are more likely to use other illegal drugs. For example, the risk of using cocaine is much greater for those who have tried marijuana than for those who have never used.
Effects on Mental Health
Research has demonstrated that kids age 12 to 17 who use marijuana weekly are three times more likely than nonusers to have suicidal thoughts.
In addition to psychosis, chronic marijuana use has been associated with an array of psychological effects, including depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and personality disturbances. One of the most frequently cited is an “amotivational syndrome,” which describes a diminished or lost drive to engage in formerly rewarding
Effects on the Adolescent Brain
Marijuana impairs the brains’ effectiveness, ability to concentrate, coordination and ability to retain information by changing the way sensory information reaches and is processed by the brain.
Compared to the nonsmoking peers, students who smoke marijuana tend to get lower grades and are more likely to drop out of high school. Students who use marijuana before the age of 15 are three times more likely to have left school by the age of 16.
Marijuana is Addictive
Current research has demonstrated the earlier marijuana use begins, the more likely the user will become dependent on it or other types of drugs later in life.
Regular marijuana users have a 40% chance of becoming addicted (2 of every 5 regular users).
In 2006, nearly 290,000 people entered dug treatment programs to kick their marijuana habit.
What Parents Should Look For
Marijuana is usually smoked using cigarette rolling papers, a purchased water bong, or a makeshift bong that can be made from a variety of items. Hash can be smoked or eaten, and is sometimes cooked into baked goods.
Signs and symptoms of marijuana use include: dilated pupils and bloodshot eyes, cigarette rolling papers, seeds that have been cleaned from marijuana, smell on clothing, room, or car, or air fresheners disguising smell, sleepy appearance, reduced motivation, pipes, bongs or homemade devices, or sticky residue from burned marijuana.
Effects on the Brain and Development
If marijuana use starts in adolescence, the chances of addiction are 1 in 6.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s December 2012 Marijuana Drug Fact Information states: Research has shown that, in chronic users, marijuana’s adverse impact on learning and memory persists after the acute effects of the drug wear off; when marijuana use begins in adolescence, the effects may persist for many years. Research from different areas is converging on the fact that regular marijuana use by young people can have long-lasting negative impact on the structure and function of their brains.
Science confirms that the adolescent brain, particularly the part of the brain that regulates the planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision-making and social behavior, is not fully developed until the early to mid-20s. Developing brains are especially susceptible to all of the negative effects of marijuana and other drug use.
One of the most well designed studies on marijuana and intelligence, released in 2012, found that persistent,
heavy use of marijuana by adolescents reduces IQ by as much as eight points, when tested well into adulthood.
Effects on School Performance
According to data on marijuana use in youth from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2006), teens whose grades averaged “D” were four times more likely to have smoked marijuana in the past year than students whose grades averaged “A”.
Other studies have found that marijuana use is linked with dropping out of school, and subsequent unemployment, social welfare dependence, and a lower self-reported quality of life than non-marijuana abusing people.
According to May 2013 Missouri State Epidemiological Profile, 6.0% of all Missourians 12 and older reported using marijuana in the past month. This is a number that has remained relatively steady over the past few years and is slightly below the national average (6.9%).
In Colorado prior to legalization (2011), 10.72% of youth were current marijuana users, compared to 7.64% nationally.
In Colorado Springs in 2012, positive tests for marijuana made up 57% of total drug screenings of high school students, compared to 33% in 2007.
“If Denver Public High Schools were considered a state, that state would have the highest past month marijuana use rate in the United States, behind New Hampshire. Denver now has more marijuana dispensaries than liquor stores or licensed pharmacies.” – Dr. Christian Thurstone, Denver Health Medical Center.
Increased Learning Deficits
A recent study in 2012 found that those who used cannabis heavily in their teens and continued through adulthood showed a permanent drop in IQ of 8 points.
Marijuana continues to negatively affect attention span, memory, learning, and intelligence after the intoxicating effects of the drug have subsided.
Youth who are persistent cannabis users had significantly more memory and attention problems; easily getting distracted, misplacing things, forgetting to keep appointments, or returning calls.
Youth with an average grade of D or below were more than four times as likely to have used marijuana in the past year than youth with an average grade of A.
Because marijuana use affects brain development, it is consistently associated with poorer academic grades and a reduced likelihood of graduating from school.
Impact on Youth Health and Mental Health
Marijuana use can worsen depression and lead to more serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, anxiety,
and even suicide. Marijuana use during adolescence is directly linked to the onset of major mental illness,
including psychosis, schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety.
A person’s risk of a heart attack is increased four-fold during the first hour after smoking marijuana.
Youth marijuana use rates in Adams County Colorado increased from 19% in 2010 to 29% in 2012.
Impact on Dropout Rates
Compared with their nonsmoking peers, students who smoke marijuana are more likely to have lower grades and to drop out of high school.
Most Missourians stay away from marijuana
Most Missouri adults and youth stay away from marijuana. Over 91% of Missouri youth in grades 6-12
report no use of marijuana in the last 30 days and over 94% of Missourians over 18 report no current use.
Legalization of marijuana in other states has led to increased negative consequences
Following legalization of recreation marijuana use in Colorado current users increased from 18.7% to 27.3% for the 18 to 25 year-old group.
Since “medical marijuana” was legalized in California, the Los Angeles Police have reported a 52% rise in burglaries and a 57% increase in assaults. Police in Denver, Colorado report a 75% rise in burglaries since legalization.
Marijuana use is strongly associated with impaired driver crashes
Marijuana is the most common illegal drug detected in impaired drivers, fatally injured drivers, and motor vehicle crash victims.
Marijuana use affects futures
Heavy marijuana abusers self-report that their use had negative effects on their cognitive abilities, career status, social life, and physical and mental health.
A National Institute on Drug Abuse study found that youth who start marijuana use by age 13 usually do not go to college, while those abstaining from marijuana use, on average, complete almost three years of college. In addition, those who begin using marijuana by age 13 are more likely to report lower income and lower levels of schooling by age 29.
Marijuana use is linked with dropping out of school, unemployment, and social welfare dependence.
Users can become addicted to marijuana
According to the National Admissions to Substance Abuse Treatment Services (SAMHSA), each year, more teens enter treatment with a primary diagnosis of marijuana dependence than for all other illicit drugs combined.
Over 8800 Missourians entering publicly supported drug treatment in 2012 reported marijuana as their primary addiction.
As young people’s perceived risk of marijuana decreases with public discussion over legalization, youth marijuana use increases
Marijuana use is associated with increased depression, suicidal ideation, use of other substances and risky behavior among adolescents.
Youth who first smoke marijuana under the age of 14 are more than five times as likely to abuse drugs as adults.
Marijuana use effects are much more detrimental and long-lasting among youth, disrupting the brain function critical to motivation, memory, learning, judgment, and behavior control.
Increased Safety Costs
Marijuana is the most prevalent illegal drug detected in impaired drivers, fatally injured drivers, and motor vehicle crash victims.
Marijuana impairs motor coordination and reaction time and is the second most prevalent drug (after alcohol) implicated in automobile accidents.
In the five years following the establishment of the California Medical Marijuana Program (Jan. 2004), there were 1240 fatalities in fatal car crashes involving marijuana, compared to 631 for the five years prior, for an increase of almost 100%.
In 2008 there were 8 counties where more than 16% of the drivers in fatal car crashes tested positive for marijuana. Five of the 8 counties had rates over 20%.
More people are driving on weekend nights under the influence of marijuana (8.3) than alcohol (2.2%).
In the first six months that marijuana became legal in state of Washington:
– 745 drivers stopped by police tested positive for the drug’s psychoactive ingredient, THC, in their blood.
– Over half of those were over the state’s new legal limit of 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood.
– By contrast, in each of the last two full years, about 1,000 drivers who were pulled over tested positive for THC. The increase comes despite the fact that recreational-use pot stores will not open in Washington State until next year.
Increase in Crime
Since medical marijuana was approved in California, the Los Angeles Police Dept. reported that areas surrounding cannabis clubs had:
– 200% increase in robberies
– 52% rise in burglaries
– 57% increase in aggravated assaults
– 131% increase in auto burglaries near dispensaries
Legalization would not ease the burden on law enforcement. According to ASAM “Nationally, there are an estimated 2.7 million alcohol-related arrests each year compared to 750,000 annual marijuana possession arrests. If marijuana use increased, as can be expected under legalization, it is likely that there would be an increase in the number of arrests at the state level for marijuana-related incidents such as public use violations, violations in laws regulating age limits, and marijuana-related arrests for driving under the influence (DUI).”
Medical Association Views
The American Society of Addiction Medicine states that “Marijuana use is associated with adverse health consequences, including damage to specific organs and tissues and impairments in behavioral and neurological functioning”. It recommends:
– That physicians lead efforts to oppose legislative or ballot initiatives that would result in the legalization of marijuana production, distribution, marketing, possession and use by the general public.
– That public education campaigns be undertaken to inform the public that addiction associated with cannabinoids is a significant public health threat, and that marijuana is not a safe product to use, especially, but not only, by smoking.
– That the potential for the development of addiction and for the development and progression of psychotic conditions are enhanced when high-potency marijuana products are used by adolescents because of the unique vulnerability of the adolescent brain.
There is currently no scientific evidence to support the use of marijuana as an effective treatment for any psychiatric illness, and studies have shown that cannabis use may in fact exacerbate or hasten the onset of psychiatric illnesses.2 According to Addiction Biology, “Emerging evidence from human studies and animal research demonstrates that an early onset of cannabis consumption might have lasting consequences on cognition, might increase the risk for neuropsychiatric disorders, promote further illegal drug intake and increase the likelihood of cannabis dependence”.
Evidence from Colorado
Marijuana-related exposure cases by age groups in 2006 – 2008 compared to 2009 – 2011 increased: 0 – 5 yrs = 200 percent increase, 6 – 12 yrs = 60 percent increase, 13 – 14 yrs = 92 percent increase, and ages 15 – 18 = 7 percent increase.
In 2009, Colorado experienced an explosion to over 20,000 new medical marijuana patient applications. By the end of 2009, new patient applications jumped from around 6,000 for the first seven years to an additional 38,000 in just one year. Actual cardholders went from 4,800 in 2008 to 41,000 in 2009. By mid-2010, there were over 900 marijuana dispensaries identified by law enforcement.
Impaired Driving Information
In 2006, drivers testing positive for marijuana were involved in 28 percent of fatal vehicle crashes involving drugs. By 2011 that number had increased to 56 percent.
Contact Department of Health and Senior Services, 573-751-6062
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
P.O. Box 570, Jefferson City, Mo. 65102
– Washing your hands with soap and water
is considered more effective
than the use of alcohol-based hand cleaners alone. –
Health care providers should be aware of serious signs and symptoms reported among some users of “K2” synthetic marijuana product, which is legal and readily obtainable in Missouri. Providers should note that use of this substance, alone or in combination with other substances, may cause symptoms including anxiety coupled with agitation, tachycardia, elevated blood pressure, pallor, vomiting, tremors, hallucinations, and possibly seizures. Clinical consultation is available from the Missouri Regional Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 (24/7).
“K2” – also known as “K2 Spice”, “Spice”, “K2 Summit”, “Genie”, “Zohai”, and various other names – is an unregulated mixture of dried herbs that are sprayed with a synthetic cannabinoid-like substance (likely a compound designated “JWH018”). “K2” is sold as incense.
“K2” is currently legal in Missouri, although some communities have banned its sale, and it is readily available for purchase from gas stations, smoke shops and other retailers in many parts of the state. The product is also widely available on the Internet.
Since February 8, 2010, the Missouri Regional Poison Center has received questions from numerous emergency department (ED) physicians in Missouri regarding management of patients who had adverse reactions after smoking “K2.”
Patients were 14 to 21 years of age. Some calls were also received from the public regarding exposure to this substance.
Apparent “K2”-related ED visits reported via the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ ESSENCE system since December 8, 2009, included many of those which had prompted calls by health care providers to the Poison Center. Additional ED visits with similar complaints that had not resulted in calls to the Poison Center were also identified by ESSENCE. From December 8, 2009, through February 25, 2010, 10 ED visits that could have been K2-associated were detected. Patients identified thus far have ranged in age from 16 to 27 years, and nine were non-Hispanic white males. One patient was a female of unknown race.
It is important to note that among 10 ED visits detected in ESSENCE, only three mentioned “K2” as their admission reason or chief complaint. This suggests that although “K2” is legal in Missouri, patients may not be forthcoming about its use when seeking health care, a finding consistent with provider reports in other states, including New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Michigan.