Muir Wood therapist, David Laing

Teen Marijuana Abuse: Yes, It’s Still a Big Deal

As more and more states head to the polls to determine whether or not to legalize marijuana for medicinal and/or recreational use, parents are wondering how best to address the topic with their teens—especially if they support legalization.

Creating boundaries in a world with increasingly fewer restrictions placed on choices that could be potentially dangerous puts parents in a difficult position. For every family, how best to handle this situation will vary, but it’s important to always prioritize the best interest of the teen when it comes to marijuana use and abuse.

No Amount Is Safe

No matter their political leanings on the legalization of marijuana, parents are encouraged to implement a zero-tolerance policy when addressing the issue of teen use of marijuana. No states have legalized the use of marijuana for those under the age of 18 and even alcohol, legal for recreational purposes for decades, is not legal for use before the age of 21.

There’s a reason for that. The teen brain is developing rapidly during the high school years. Even minimal use can have an impact on the emotional and cognitive development of your child, and certainly regular use of any illicit substance can not only thwart their ability to thrive in an academic setting but also their ability to deal with hormonal and emotional changes as they learn how to build healthy relationships with others. There’s no risk worth taking if it could mean harm to these crucial areas of development.

Tips on Dealing With Marijuana Use

Not sure how best to manage the issue of marijuana use and abuse at home with your teen? Consider the following:

  • Talk about the issue with the other parent and form a united front when handling the situation.
  • Discuss drug and alcohol use openly with teens.
  • Set up clear house rules when it comes to drug use and abuse.
  • Follow through with the consequences already outlined and defined when your teen breaks drug use rules.
  • Make sure your teen has a plan should they find themselves in a situation where they are unable to drive due to substance abuse or could end up in a car with someone under the influence.

Safety Is the Number One Priority

Marijuana use during the teen years, no matter what the legal status in your state, is not a normal rite of passage or something to be glossed over as harmless. If your teen is abusing marijuana or any other illicit substance, take action before it has any further impact on their development, academic progress, and home life. At Muir Wood, we can help. Call now to learn more about our unique program designed for teen boys struggling with substance abuse.