• Call Now: 405.341.3554
  • Connect

Edmond Family Counseling Articles

Articles by the Counselors at Edmond Family Counseling

Monitoring the Future

Wednesday, June 05, 2013
By Darcy McConnell, M.Ed.

The latest “Monitoring the Future” survey of teenage substance abuse indicates that marijuana abuse is on the rise after two decades of consistent decline. On average about 15% of eighth through 12th grade students have abused one or more illegal drugs in the past month. Fortunately, cigarette smoking and alcohol abuse have declined to the lowest levels in two decades. Many researchers and clinicians in the field attribute this decline to an increase in prevention efforts aimed at tobacco and alcohol specifically targeted toward high school students.

Not surprisingly, the perceived risk of regular marijuana abuse has fallen significantly since 2007 among the above 12-18 year -olds. Sadly, despite nearly thirty years of highly visible anti-drug campaigns, marijuana is till the most commonly abused illegal drug in our country.

It has been my experience working with adolescents that marijuana, although the most widely abused drug, is also the most misunderstood. Common beliefs about regular marijuana abuse include: everybody does it, it helps me relax, it’s natural, it won’t hurt you – doctors prescribe it, lots of parents used it in the 60s and 70s, and it is legal in some states. While it is not an easy task to debunk all these commonly accepted myths about marijuana and restructure a teenager’s perception of this drug, the message has to be consistent. Likewise, parents, your attitudes toward marijuana abuse have to be consistent with what you wish your children to adopt in their own lives.
Unfortunately, for every true fact a teenager is exposed to, there are likely a dozen of his or her peers reinforcing the idea that smoking pot is a perfectly normal part of growing up. In working with young people, education is the key and proven facts do not lie. I often find myself presenting information as if I were back in college proving my theory to a professor by citing all sources and providing hard copies to all interested parties.

When marijuana is smoked, the main ingredient THC is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and carried to all organs, including the brain. It is in the brain where THC targets nerve cells known as cannabinoid receptors. The membranes of these cells contain protein receptors that bind to THC. Many cannabinoid receptors are found in parts of the brain that control memory, perception, coordination, time perception, pleasure, and concentration. Not surprisingly, many of these tasks are crucial to the daily functioning of the average teenager and are often areas where signs of marijuana abuse appear first: falling grades, disinterest, forgetfulness, and depressed mood. A vast majority of research exists on the debilitating effects of marijuana on the human brain.

Unlike any other drug, marijuana can remain in the system for up to 28 days. Many teenagers report that they don’t smoke prior to engaging in important activities such as going to school or driving, but they do not understand that the remaining THC in their systems is continuing to affect their brains’ functioning. The changes in brain function in teenagers has been shown to last longer than in adults, perhaps because the teenage brain is still developing.

The United States Drug Enforcement Agency as well as the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics indicates that, on average, marijuana seized today is 10-14 times stronger than it was in the 1960s and 70s. Today marijuana is likely to contain at least one other dangerous chemical like formaldehyde, arsenic, or PCP. While these extra chemicals may exist in trace amounts, their effects can be extremely dangerous.

With “perceived risk” low among teenagers, many try marijuana for the first time and receive a euphoric feeling from the THC reaction in the brain, which leads to them using again. This fabricated “reward” will eventually turn into one craving the drug to the point that other activities alone seem less fun then before. With repeated use one will develop a strong psychological dependence upon marijuana. If not for this process, marijuana abusers would not make up the high percentages of admits into in-patient rehabilitation centers across the United Sates every year.

Research consistently shows that teenagers who smoke pot receive lower grades and are less likely to graduate from high school. Statistics indicate that people who began smoking pot before the age of 18 are far more likely to possess a severe substance abuse issue as an adult. So, PLEASE provide your children and teenagers with the education they deserve so that they may make informed decisions in a society of mistruths and mixed messages. Prevention is all about education and if you do not possess the knowledge to educate your teens, they will seek the information elsewhere. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL YOUR CHILD HAS A PROBLEM TO ADDRESS THIS. This is a problem that is prevalent and destructive..

Darcy McConnell is a therapist at Edmond Family Counseling, Inc. and can be reached at 341-3554.

Post has no comments.
Post a Comment

Captcha Image

Trackback Link
Post has no trackbacks.

Recent Posts


Marijuana Marriage New year’s resolution Support Group Drug Abuse How to talk to your kids about terrorism Spanking Cell Phones Opiods Therapy Nutrition and stress Communication techniques for couples Bong Communicating with your child Mayme White Miller Goal Setting Changing Problem Behavior Children Political Correctness College Age Children How common are panic attacks Bias and memory Schedule 1 Drug What Matters Most Program Links between unemployment and depression Instagram Heroin in the Suburbs Divorce THE KETOGENIC DIET Anxiety Happiness Teen Safety Social anxiety Oklahoma Statute on Marijuana Childhood depression Jay Asher Teenagers Teen Drug Use Emotional Development Aggregated News for Teens Fear National Drug Threat Assessment Summary Prescription Drugs Developmentally appropriate strategies for grief counseling Edmond Family Counseling Organization Learning Decision-Making Family Systems Theory Underage Drinking Trauma Discipline What Really Matters School Anxiety Fidget Spinners Independent Living World Health Organization David Feldman Parent peer pressure Drinking in high school Captain of Your Ship Heroin Crisis Divorce with minor children Parenting Teenagers 13 Reasons Why NOT ADHD Freshman Year Seniors Impact of Suicide Siblings in Conflict Butane Hask Oil Limitations of counseling Self Investment Parenting with purpose Presidential debate list Retirement Relationships Self Image Exercise treatment for depression Grandparenting Culture Newsletter Edmond Municipal Court Helen Keller Panic attacks Role Models The Martian Book Parenting through Divorce Procrastination personal growth Grandparents as parents School Is therapy forever Food Allergies responsibility Political bias Teens and Time Management high school Grounded Hope Edmond Twitter What to do when you are laid off Brain Research Sexual Abuse Anger When Teens Should Get a Cell Phone Lee Daniel Kravetz Suicide Prevention for Teens Wax Sanjay Gupta Al McCormick Dr. Ben Carson How prevalent is domestic violence Movies for Teens Summer Plans for Teens Mild-Depression 5 Love Languages brain Prom Medical Use of Marijuana in Oklahoma Michael Jackson Help for panic and anxiety How do children process trauma Scapegoating Teens Use of Technology Teenage Boys John Goetz College Choices Codependency Reading Great Depression Joshua and Rebecca Weigel Positive Reinforcement Supersurvivors Darcy McConnell Funding Oklahoma Department of Human Services Feldman and Kravetz Suicide Edmond drug use parenting college age kids Dating Grandparent Initiative Misconceptions of Smoking Marijuana Consequences Setting Boundaries for Your Teen Early Treatment of Depression Ben Carson Parkland Shooter Isolation in teens self-sabotage Panic Disorder Parenting Family Roles HB 2249 Retirement Planning Waxing Terrorism and children Oklahoma drug use Technology Holidays Co-Parenting Strong Willed Child Disciplining Teens Holiday stress Co-Parenting Class Enabling Adult Children privilege non-verbal communication Americans with Disabilities Act Gun violence and mental health Teenage Development 710 Community Suicide Prevention Programs Gender Roles Summer time parenting Managing substance abuse spring Why did the system fail Apps for Teens Drugs The Butterfly Circus Butane Honey Oil Child Development How long should counseling take Death AARP Teen Parenting Alcohol Chad McCoy Micro-aggression Call of Duty The Golden Years Summer Depression and social media Stress THE PALEO DIET Negative Thinking The Miracle Worker Donald Miller Belinda Crosier Disasters HK pen Setting Boundaries with Adult Children Golden Child How to recognize domestic violence History Substance Abuse Character Development fads Working Parents Prom guidelines for teens Peers Self-Esteem Unemployment Time Management James Dobson Drug Use Parenting and Cell Phones Dr. Rhonda Patrick Adult Children MEDITERRANEAN DIET Risk taking GirlStrong Family Theory Addiction DIY Marriage counseling Communication Positive Thinking Confidentiality Legalization of Marijuana Girl Strong Affluenza Normalcy Millenials Young Adults Panic College Transitions Divorce School Back to School Sheila Stinnett Facebook How to control panic attacks Conflict Prevention Domestic violence resources Chores for Teens Bullying Communicating with your teen Teen Suicide Edmond Character Council The Amazing Race What is domestic violence Annie Sullivan Boundaries Snapchat gadgets Mental Health Learning Disabilites Social Media Andy Weir Teens and Smartphones Emotions Teenage perception of drug use Entitlement Syndrome Bias Depression College Campus Child Abuse Detox Diet Ridley Scott Tetra-Amelia Syndrome The Martian Movie bucket list Audrey Woods Hanna Baker Eating Disorder Positive Illusions Speaker Listener Technique Elizabeth Loftus goals Jackie Shaw Disability Prom safety Personality Test Unemployment and depression Will counseling work quickly Quinton Ellis Tumblr diet Twenty Somethings Marriage counseling Teen Jobs Microagression Teens and cell phones How to manage anxiety ADA United States Drug Enforcement Agency Amanda Percival 13 Reasons Why How many sessions do I need How to detect signs of depression Suicide Prevention Recommendations


Call Us Now!