With marijuana use at an all-time high for young adults and late teens, as indicated in a recent study, people are wondering what the implications of marijuana use are. Maks Ezrin, head of Youth Prevention Mentors, recounts “As a young pot-head in my teens — I had to work hard to smoke daily without being caught. There were no pens and no vapes, so naturally we had to smoke outside and would reek afterwards. Nowadays, teens can smoke as much as they want, in the comfort of their parents’ home, with no one suspecting a thing. No wonder we are seeing such a surge in marijuana related mental health crises.”
More Research Shows More Consequences
Until recently, research on marijuana and its short- and long-term side effects was scant. Now, studies are being published on a regular basis as we learn more about usage and the impact on human mental and physical wellness.
Two studies have recently been published that confirm the links between marijuana use and negative long-term side effects. This study shows that daily use increases the likelihood of an irregular heartbeat. And this study shows a link between regular usage in your 20s and cognitive decline.
Studies are also finding that marijuana use increases the risk of developing psychosis. Psychosis is a mental disorder characterized by hallucinations, delusions, and other abnormal thinking patterns. Psychosis is becoming more and more common in young people who use marijuana regularly. But it’s not just psychosis. Research has also linked marijuana use to an increased risk of anxiety, depression, and even addiction.
We’ve seen the link between high potency marijuana and hallucinations. Along with an all-time high in marijuana usage, this study shows that hallucinogen usage is at an all-time high, and even vaping has returned to pre-pandemic levels.
Another grave concern is dabbing. As dabbing becomes more prevalent, I find myself consulting with the families on how to address the myriad issues that arise from it, namely a substance induced psychosis that takes a long time to clear.
It’s Not Just Youth
Families often call me concerned about a loved one’s habitual use of marijuana and how it is causing a loss of quality of life for the individual and their family. While many of these conversations involve young adults, there has been a recent increase in calls regarding mid-life adults who are experiencing a decline in quality of life due to a habit they just cannot control. Notable symptoms include distorted thinking, paranoia, psychosis, rage, inability to carry on daily life skills (commitments to school & work go by the wayside), isolation as well as the use of other mind-altering substances.
It’s important to start a conversation with your loved ones. Here are a few tips on how:
- Being a good listener is paramount at any age.
- Setting clear expectations about alcohol and other drugs – that is, what is or is not allowed in your home
- Reviewing how, if at all, you may be contributing to marijuana consumption. Are you paying for everything – making it easier for them to continue to use?
- Learning about your child’s friends, including young adult or adults children
- Setting up a working change agreement at any age helps creates scaffolding necessary for health and wellness
If you are wondering what to do or have more questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. My team and I are just a phone call away. We want to hear your story and help you navigate a solution that helps your loved one and your family flourish.