Marijuana and teens: risky business – Marin Independent Journal

It is not uncommon for me to hear parents discuss their teen’s marijuana use. While some are concerned many shrug it off as a relatively benign activity, often offering their own marijuana use in high school or college as an example of safety. However, personal anecdotes are not the best proof that something is relatively risk-free. I never wore a seat belt until middle school and was never been injured in a car accident, but I would not offer that up as proof that seat belts are overrated.

In 2016 approximately 35 percent of high school seniors and 10 percent of eighth-grade students reported marijuana use in the past year with 1 in 16 seniors — or 6 percent — reporting daily marijuana use. If you know a teen or have a teen and he or she hasn’t used marijuana chances are the teens will know someone who has. Only 31 percent of 12th graders believe that regular use of marijuana among teens is harmful, so lack of concern about risks is common and definitely a contributing factor.

Botanical marijuana, Cannabis sativa, contains more than 60 pharmacologically active cannabinoids. While the medical benefits are often widely promoted studies are generally sparse. There is data supporting use for some types of chronic pain and muscle spasticity and both tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient, and cannabidiol (CBD) have an impact on nausea and are often used to treat the nausea and vomiting of chemotherapy. CBD is believed to offer the benefit for chronic pain.

After inhalation, THC concentrations rise rapidly in the blood stream and even a single inhalation of a low-dose marijuana cigarette (16 mg THC) produces measurable levels. After oral ingestions THC is digested in the stomach and travels to the liver where it undergoes metabolism before entering the

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