Marijuana

There is a rising number of teenagers who engages in smoking marijuana aka weed, the majority of this number are girls. A few months back there was a video trending on socials where almost 40 learners from the same school doing a puff n pass.

Now learners smoking marijuana is not a new thing, in my school days at Margotfonteyn High School we had a burning tree during break time. At the time the school was known for its unruly learners. In my involvement with SANCA, I launched TADA (Teenagers Against Drug Abuse), it was at this point that I was confronted with the serious drug problem my school was facing.

Fighting fire with fire did not help me as it put my life at risk. I completed my Grade 12 by being escorted by teachers in and out of school.

Fast-forward to now, schools are still faced with a similar problem but much more openly, it is as if there is no rule of law governing schools. Girl children seem to have taken over the space and are the driving force behind the teen use of marijuana. It is legal but not as regulated as tobacco therefore it has lots of teenage users.

Marijuana

There is very little awareness if any about the use of marijuana, everyone is still cashing in on it without calculating the devastation that comes that it is causing in young people. I personally saw my school best friend who was brilliant in mathematics turn into a complete mess when he started smoking zol. He started having new friends whom he smoked with, and eventually, he ventured into drugs, and his life was thrown deep into chaos.

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Most drug addicts credit marijuana as the beginning of their drug journey.

Why then are we doing little to nothing to rescue teenagers from this type of behavior which might f-up their lives and destroy their budding future?

Why do Teens smoke marijuana?

One female learner I spoke to, told me that she started smoking weed at 13 years old after a series of sexual abuse in school and her father’s absence at home. She says that her life was thrown into calamity as she struggles with mental illness in adolescence. This intelligent young lady has high hopes for her future but wishes to have a better handle on her mental state. “Weed gives me that temporal escape from reality and I feel like I can do anything without worrying.” She spoke.

She is not the only one using weed to escape reality.

“Weed gives something nobody can give me, freedom to just be me, free from stress and depression, it is the reason why I cannot stop smoking it, I know my parents are mad at me, but the day someone gives me what weed gives me then I will stop it.” Another Grade 11 female learner told me.

Marijuana

It would seem like most learners smoke weed as a form of self-medication over and above the experiment and peer pressure.

“We have a problem of learners who bunk classes and some schools just to smoke weed. A learner bunks class smokes weed and when they come back to class, they are not themselves, their behavior changes. At this point you are no longer teaching a learner, you are now teaching whatever the weed has manufactured in that young brain.” Completed Miss Majozi, a grade 11 teacher.

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Abstract from DR. Weedy

According to the observations of Narcogists, children most often get acquainted with marijuana and cannabis (it’s the same thing in slang) at the age of 14-15 years. This is a period of active puberty, hormonal surges, and psychological instability. A teenager has a strong desire to give up all problems, relieve tension, and forget. If the child is in bad company at this moment, his/her fate is almost a foregone conclusion. 

Smoking weed gives a teenager a deceptive feeling of coolness, exclusivity, and uniqueness. It increases self-esteem and self-confidence, the lack of which often affects children. If a teenager is deprived of parental love, weed allows him/her to forget about it. He/she “feels well, no matter what.” 

You must understand that the first attempt to smoke marijuana is not a sentence; it can be due to the banal curiosity of the child or strong pressure from the outside. However, all further attempts to use cannabis are usually associated with the desire to forget about some internal or external problems, overcome the complex of self-doubt, etc. 

Narcologists believe that if a child smoke weed from time to time, it may take a year and a half until he/she develops dependence. If he/she takes it often, everything happens much faster. It is important to recognize the problem in time and take appropriate action. 

After marijuana use increases the amount of grey matter in a teenager’s brain. But do they become smarter because of this, or is this growth of “grey cells” harmful to health? The grey matter of the brain traditionally evokes positive associations with thinking and intelligence. However, an increase in the number of “grey cells” can harm the health of adolescents who use cannabis. And the negative effect can occur even if they smoke it very rarely.

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A team led by Catherine Orr from the Department of psychiatry and psychology of the American University found that the use of even minimal amounts of cannabis by adolescents leads to changes in the brain. Until the end of adolescence, the brain continues to grow; therefore, is particularly sensitive to tetrahydrocannabinol (abbreviated THC). This substance is found in marijuana and causes a feeling of intoxication during smoking.

At some point, the brain of a teenager is reduced since unnecessary synaptic connections are destroyed. Scientists from the University of Vermont suggest that cannabis disrupts this process, and the brain of underage weed fans becomes denser. 

How marijuana affects teens

  • Poor performance in school will affect admission to higher education. 
  • High probability of anxiety disorders. 
  • Impairment of memory and thinking skills. 
  • Increased risk of psychosis. 
  • Diseases of the respiratory tract and lungs (similar to those associated with tobacco smoking). 
  • Risk of transition to other, more dangerous drugs.
  • Confusion and inability to carry on a conversation
  • Paranoid thoughts, i.e., groundless fear of someone or something. This symptom is most pronounced in adolescents with a weak psyche. 
  • Stupid and illogical behavior (strange reactions, laughter at unfunny events and phenomena).
  • Excessive appetite has long been associated with marijuana use, and recent scientific studies have shown that smoking marijuana leads not only to a sharp increase in appetite but also to the aggravation of taste buds.