Talk to our youth: October 19, 2015

To protect our children, we are asking parents and guardians to spend a few minutes each day talking with our youth regarding risky behaviors. Your conversations will greatly reduce their chances of becoming involved with drugs and alcohol. We will be sharing information, over the coming months, that may be helpful when talking with your children.

 Fact: Talking regularly with our youth about risky behavior reduces their risk of using.

Is marijuana addictive?

The fact is, 1 in 11 users become addicted to the drug (similar to alcohol). For those who begin using it during adolescence, the chances of addiction increase to 1 in 6 (similar to cocaine). Like nicotine, kicking the marijuana habit can be difficult, with similar withdrawal symptoms including irritability, sleeping difficulties, cravings, anxiety and increased aggression. And out of all the people in treatment for drug abuse, 1 in 4 is being treated for marijuana addiction.

Isn’t marijuana today the same as marijuana from  yesterday?

Today’s marijuana is not your Grandpa’s “grass.” The potency of the marijuana now available is far beyond that of Grandpa’s era. On average, in the 1970s, a marijuana “joint” contained less than 1% THC (the chemical in marijuana that produces a high). In comparison, that same size joint today would contain, on average, about 13% THC. And that’s not all; today there are even higher potency forms of marijuana, where THC is extracted using heat; producing forms referred to as “budder,” “shatter,” “dabs,” and “wax.” In these new forms, THC levels can be as high as 80 – 90% (not even in the same ballpark as Grandpa’s).

If marijuana is used as medicine, doesn’t that mean it is safe and maybe even good for you?

It is true that some chemicals in marijuana may have some medicinal purposes, but there is not much controlled research. And identifying and extracting those potentially helpful chemicals and putting them in a safe form is the job of medical researchers, in order to protect the public. Even if some day there are safe and effective medicines extracted from the plant, that still wouldn’t mean using them to get high is safe anymore than abusing other medications is safe.

This information was published by the Drug Fee Action Alliance (DFAA).

For additional reading, please see this story, as reported by Alicia Cook, correspondent for wkyc.com. This is an account of addiction within her family.