5 Things You Should Know About Medical Marijuana and Teens
This guest article is written by Paige Dagmar. Paige is a student and also writes for Pharmacy Degrees which helps students find the right pharmacy degree.
With medical marijuana still a heated topic of discussion, we thought now would be a good time to discuss some of the basics surrounding how medical marijuana laws apply to teens and the minority of states that allow it. To help, we have gathered five basic things every teen and their parents should know about it below.
1. Which states? There are many states where marijuana is still considered an illegal substance and you can be arrested no matter what the reason you have it is. States that do allow medical marijuana include Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Arizona, Maine, Maryland*, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, Alaska, Hawaii and the District of Columbia. Even in these states, you need a doctor’s prescription or recommendation for marijuana and cannot smoke it in public.
3. Can pot help with anxiety? Because marijuana can be calming, many prescriptions are written for those who have anxiety and other mental disorders. It is extremely advisable to use caution before pursuing this route. The Berkeley Parents Network warns against this because the THC in marijuana can actually trigger psychosis in normal people, or feeling of extreme paranoia. They also discuss how tobacco and alcohol can also be calming but are not recommended for minors or even adults. They also reference studies that show that cannabis use can affect brain development in younger people. Several states’ medical marijuana laws prohibit doctors from prescribing or recommending medical marijuana for mental or anxiety disorders.
4. Can pot help with any mental disorder? Before using medicinal marijuana, know exactly what you are trying to treat as there are certain diseases and conditions where medicinal marijuana can actually make things worse. As reported by The Anti Drug, marijuana can make some mental disorders worse. Weekly or more frequent use of marijuana can actually double a teen’s risk of depression and anxiety. Pot smokers who are aged 12 – 17 can be three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts and can even increase the risk for serious mental disorders like schizophrenia.
If considering medicinal marijuana for any disease or condition, be sure to research not just the laws in your state, but the outcomes of treating your ailment with pot. It is also important to know the addictive properties of marijuana as well as any side effects it can have.
*In Maryland, qualifying patients who are charged with possessing up to an ounce of marijuana can avoid criminal sanctions. However, the law does not provide any means of access to medical marijuana.
As of April, 2016 twenty-four states have legalized the use of medical marijuana.