If your teen has ever claimed, “mom/dad, it’s just weed,”
you understand how frustrating it can be to convince teens that marijuana
is still a harmful and addictive drug for the developing teen brain, like
alcohol, tobacco, opioids, and heroin.
While marijuana decades ago may have been less addictive, marijuana products
are now 57%-67% more potent than they were in the 70s, and the drug is
available to teens in many new forms.
Smoking is still a common way to get high, but this article will detail
the variety of new forms and ways to consume marijuana, as well as, shed
light on Spice, a very dangerous synthetic product that is resulting in
a high-level of reported health incidents across the country.
Vaporizers: A vaporizer is a device that slowly heats up marijuana at a lower temperature,
releasing THC as a vapor. Vaporizers still produce a marijuana smell with
use, but far less than when smoking. Vaporizers exist as large devices
as well as handheld-pocket devices.
Hash/Wax: Hash is made by collecting the resin from the flowers on a cannabis plant.
This resin is then compressed into small blocks (sometimes called Wax).
Individuals can eat or smoke the blocks. Hash differs from dried marijuana
buds because it has a very high concentration of THC.
Edibles: Marijuana can be added to a variety of edible products, like brownies,
cookies, gummy worms, popcorn, and rice krispie treats. These edibles
are made with butters or oils. It is much easier to over-consume these
products since it takes longer to feel the effects of marijuana, and individuals
are eating the product as opposed to smoking it.
Drinkables: Drinkable marijuana products, like lemonade and teas, are also available.
Tinctures/Tonics: Cannabis can be made into tinctures and tonics and added to foods/liquids.
They can be applied to the skin or consumed by placing drops under the
tongue. There are even THC eye drops available.
Spice: Since 2004, a synthetic strain of marijuana, most commonly known as Spice
or K2 (other names are Black Mamba, Scooby Snax, Mojo, and Annihilation),
came onto the clubbing scene in the United Kingdom. Since then, synthetic
marijuana has become popular in the drug scene, with widespread coverage
of youth landing in the hospital. In 2011, in the United States alone,
28,531 cases had been reported in emergency rooms due to bad reactions
and overdoses on Spice. Some deaths were reported with the use of Spice.
In many studies, the side effects found with smoking Spice are paranoia,
rapid heart rate, vomiting, agitation, and many more. The effects of withdrawal
can be even worse: loss of appetite, depression, kidney failure, insomnia, and more.
Spice can look like natural marijuana or herbal tobacco, and it is dried
up and chopped plant material with the active ingredients of Spice (synthetic
cannabinoids such as JWH-018 and sometimes even phenazepam) sprayed onto
it. At first, people thought that Spice was another natural product that
was similar to marijuana, but soon after the product hit the market, stories
came out about how dangerous Spice was.
The bottom-line is this: Illicit Marijuana use is dangerous for our youth.
The higher potency, attractive packaging, ease of access, as well as the
new synthetic forms available, certainly elevate the potential risk to
teens, both in terms of damaging their brain development, and increasing
their risk of using more potent substances in the future. If you have
any questions or concerns regarding Marijuana and your teen, please do
not hesitate to call the Center to schedule a confidential consultation,
at no charge.