There’s no doubt that parents are the most powerful force in protecting and preparing children for the future. But these days, that job has become exponentially more confusing with the legalization of marijuana in many states and the subsequent arrival of a much more allusive, potent and dangerous variety that’s already flooding across state boarders. One thing has become clear: there’s no such thing as a harmless habit.
Marijuana is no stranger to most parents, but many are unaware of the way it’s being ingested these days and that it has 5x more THC than it did in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. Recent studies have concluded that it can even cause a permanent lowering of I.Q. for adolescents, along with a host of other problems which decrease the chances of having and enjoying a prosperous future. Continue reading New Discrete Cannabis Test Kit Helps Parents→
National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported today that drug abuse among teens is trending downward, except for marijuana. The University of Michigan’s annual Monitoring the Future Survey was completed for 2016. It showed that six percent of high school seniors across the country are daily marijuana users.
Many of these young, habitual tokers, are potential addicts–if not yet addicted. They may stick to marijuana which is extremely potent today–5x more potent than it was in 70s. Or they may go onto other drugs, or slide into alcoholism as they turn the legal age to buy booze. The six percent of seniors who are daily pot users is triple the rate of daily drinkers in 12th grade. That figure is very troubling, and it is the same high rate from the previous year.
Teen abuse of other substances, including opioids and heroin, is down. However, adult substance abuse continues to rise astronomically. The Centers for Disease Control released new statistics last week: 52,404 drug-related deaths in 2015, an 11% rise. By comparison, 37,757 died in car crashes, an increase of 12%. Gun deaths, including homicides and suicides, totaled 36,252, a jump of 7%. In 2014, there were 47,055 drug overdose deaths. The rate of increase has risen rapidly in the last decade.
There’s the concern that these daily marijuana users will go onto other drugs, drugs that lead to overdose and are potentially lethal. States with high rates of teen marijuana use in 2011 and 2012 ended up having the highest rates of opioid pill abuse two years later. Here’s five reasons marijuana is a gateway drug.
Pain Pills, Cough Syrup and Other Drugs
The use of synthetic cannabinoids and ecstasy is lower, but still too high. High school students are using much fewer opioid pain pills. Among 12th graders there’s been a 45 percent drop over the past five years. Only 2.9 percent of high school seniors reported past year misuse of the pain reliever Vicodin in 2016, compared to nearly 10 percent a decade ago. The Drug Free American Foundation, CADCA and the pharmacies regularly sponsor “Take Back Your Drugs” days. At these times, pain relievers from other family members are tossed out, with the hopes of preventing illicit use.
Fewer eighth graders are using marijuana, which is encouraging. Parents Opposed to Pot believes it’s because new parent and community drug education efforts – since legalization — are discouraging early pot use.
One troubling note is that eighth graders had an increase in misuse of over-the-counter cough medicine. This year, 2.6 percent of them have abused it, up from 1.6 percent in 2015.
Tobacco use and drinking are trending downward, but use of e-cigarettes has gone up. Here’s the statistics.
If Marijuana is Medicine, How Come it Makes People So Sick?
There’s a great irony that comes from the pot industry’s claims that marijuana is medical and it’s supposed to help with nausea. It’s called Cannabis Hyperemesis, and it hits with a vengeance.
This past week a parent wrote to PopPot, saying: “Parents should watch for red flags of pot use in their children including frequent, long hot showers; weight loss; unexplained nausea and vomiting.”
“I took my teen to the doctor assuming the stress of a rigorous course load combined with the demands of an after school sport were taking a physical toll on my child, ” the mom wrote. “In hindsight, these were the signs of escalating pot use as described in this Pub Med article about cannabinoid hyperemesis. Unfortunately many in the medical community are ignorant of the detrimental effects of pot use on our young people — ranging from psychotic breaks to debilitating gastrointestinal symptoms.”
From another mother in Pueblo, Colorado who also wrote this past week: “Last week I met a 14-year-old girl suffering from Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome. When I met her, at first I though she had an addiction to meth because she was so very thin and malnourished. She was asking me how can she return to live with her parents who are marijuana users when marijuana is so toxic for her.”
Incidences of this severe illness appear to be on the rise since the rollout of legal weed. The high THC content of today’s weed — 5x the amount in the 1980s — seems to be involved also. Because of misdiagnosis or denial of drug use by patients, this syndrome is going undetected. Furthermore, users self-medicate and exacerbate this severe illness, as a medical marijuana patient was doing for more than eight months.
From veterans hospitals to addiction specialists as well as gastroenterologists, there’s suddenly an increased interest in and diagnoses of this condition. Further research into this mysterious illness turns up numerous medical journal articles on the link between excessive and/or long-term cannabis use and hyperemesis.
Cannabis Hyperemesis: How to Know if You or Someone You Love is Afflicted
This syndrome is still largely unknown throughout the medical profession and even among cannabis users. The most prominent cases are among long-term users that started using the drug at a very early age and have used daily for over 10 years, according to the MedScape article, Emerging Role of Chronic Cannabis Use and Hyperemesis Syndrome. The article goes on to say that it can also effect newer users and even non-daily users. In Practical Gastroenterology, there’s a case of a 19 year old Hispanic man who contracted the problem within only two years of marijuana use.
Symptoms reported in a Current Psychiatry article include cyclic vomiting, abdominal pain, nausea, gastric pain and compulsive hot bathing or showers to ease pain. Frequent bathing and vomiting can also lead to dehydration and excessive thirst. Mild fever, weight loss, and a drop in blood pressure upon standing are other symptoms.
Sufferers find they need to take many showers or baths a day just to get relief from the chronic nausea and vomiting. The bouts of illness are so severe and frightening they lead to frequent trips to the emergency room. And finally, this debilitating illness can be very disruptive to life and relationships. The many absences from work lead to job loss and the inability to hold down a job.
Parents may mistake this situation as bulimia, particularly if the teens hide the vomiting. Another common way this disease is misdiagnosed as cyclic vomiting syndrome. According to the Current Psychiatry article, 50% of those diagnosed with CVS are daily cannabis users. Another common misreading by doctors of the compulsive habit of frequent hot baths is as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Further complicating matters, doctors find that even when cannabis use is consistent, the bouts of hyperemesis come and go, which further serves to keep the patient in denial about the connection to their drug use.
In Spite of Cannabis Hyperemesis, Addiction is a Stronghold
Complete cessation of marijuana use is the only known cure for Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome.
Sadly, even those who have greatly suffered over a long period of time, still want to be able to consume marijuana. The claim by the industry that marijuana is not addictive is easily disproved when you see the comments to a High Times article, What is Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome? Not only do many commenters admit they suffer from this detrimental effect of this drug, they confess they still love marijuana. The commenters lament having to give up their stoner lifestyle even after years of disabling illness! A number of them state that once they are well, they plan to return to the habit, albeit to a lesser degree.
An emergency room doctor from San Diego spoke at this Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana rally about cannabis hyperemesis syndrome calling it ‘marijuana poisoning.’ Dr. Lev finds marijuana edibles are even more problematic, affecting even small children, and with symptoms that are longer lasting. (Watch the video above.)
It may seem like an old fashioned thought, but the one you date should be a suitable mate. Consider the type of person you want to marry before getting involved with a stoner. Doing this will save you from short term frustrations and long term unhappiness.
Ten Reasons NOT to Date a Stoner
1. Financially Unstable. The stoner lifestyle may not seem to interfere with your relationship until it begins to put a strain on your finances. When you are dating someone who begins to spend excessive time and money on marijuana, you may be left responsible for picking up the slack.
2. Addiction Takes Priority. Despite the claims of many who say marijuana is not addictive, marijuana dependency exists. According to a study done by Samhsa.gov in 2012, over 1.5 million Americans under the age of 26 were found to be addicted to marijuana. There is no way of knowing whether your friend will become a full blown addict. But if it does become an addiction, it will dictate and often interfere with daily life due to the dependency.
3. Competing with a Drug. A relationship is more likely to collapse when an individual expresses a greater interest towards a substance than towards their partner. See one woman’s story: I Smoked Marijuana for Love
4. Guilt. You may experience feelings of decreased self-esteem and self-worth when you feel obligated to “accept” his or her addiction/lifestyle despite your own disapproval.
5. Fertility and Parenthood. Smoking marijuana has been linked with decreased sperm counts and chances for fertility, which could complicate a couple’s attempt to have a child. Furthermore, even if fertility is not compromised, do you really want to expose your children to a mind altering drug? See this fact sheet from Health Canada to learn about the many other risks involved with the use of marijuana, even for medical purposes.
6. Lack of energy. Relationships take work, and being friends with a stoner may not last when your partner’s motivation is decreased by his or her pot habit. Your boyfriend or girlfriend will make less effort and less desire to make you the priority.
7. Activists Like to Cause a Racket. If he or she is an activist… good luck. A majority of marijuana users are also “politically active and energized” according to Ed Gogek, and their “allegiance to the drug” consumes their social calendar and Facebook newsfeed. Even activists will admit to the excessive amount of time and energy they spend at social gatherings and meetings where they aspire to make noise and fight the battle for legalization.
8. Say Goodbye to the Simple Pleasures. If you are dating a frequent user it is likely that they will rarely be satisfied with the simple pleasures in life unless they are high. This may lead to a major disconnect between the two of you.
9. Fear of the Unknown. Perhaps the scariest part of dating a marijuana user is the fear of what may come next. Just because you begin dating someone who’s habit seems harmless, there is no way of knowing what it could evolve into, whether it be addiction, mental illness, depression, or in some cases the exploitation of other harmful drugs. Check out this story of a teen whose marijuana habit led him down a path towards heroin abuse.
10. Dealing with Mood Swings. There are highs and lows involved in any relationship, however it is important to realize that with a stoner, the literal highs will be high, but the lows may be extremely low. As with any other drug, there are withdrawal symptoms that accompany marijuana such as irritability, anger, aggression, and sometimes depressed mood.