In an interview with Karen Corcoran Walsh – Co-founder of Inspirations for Youth and Families Teen Rehab, she talks about a recent study that claims teens are less likely to graduate high school if they smoke marijuana.
While many want to legalize marijuana, evidence continues to mount that it is devastating if youngsters use it. A new study by Lancet Psychiatry, a British journal of health research says if teenagers use it daily, they are 60 percent less likely to graduate high school and seven more times to attempt suicide. Joseph Califano, who wrote the book, “How to Raise a drug free kid,” said today’s pot is ten times more potent than the stuff the teens used back in the 1960’s.
The Examiner: Do you agree with these findings that teens who smoke weed are less likely to graduate high school?
Karen: I would say that marijuana has the potential to interfere or prevent high school students from graduating. Marijuana’s potency is greater today than at any time before in its history. According to Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly, the director of the Marijuana Potency Project, since 1972, the average THC content of marijuana has soared from less than 1% to 3% to 4% in the 1990s, to nearly 13% today. As far as society’s use of it, this is coming at a time when we are legalizing marijuana and so far we haven’t put age restraints or restrictions on the purchase of it. These dispensaries need to be regulated!
In regards to high school students, in my experience, I have seen first-hand their academic progress slowed or even halted because of short and long term marijuana use. What we do know about marijuana and its negative impact on a teen’s brain is that according to studies one in six teens, who tried marijuana in their teen years will become addicted according to Drugabuse.gov.
The Examiner: What are some of the long term effects of marijuana use among teens?
Karen: Some of the long term marijuana use effects include: memory loss, psychosis, paranoia, uncontrollable anger, distorted reality, and schizophrenia. When a teen is afflicted by any of the above mentioned effects, it can be debilitating, rendering them unable to continue or graduate high school. This is serious business!!!
The problem is exacerbated by the fact that we are not only legalizing marijuana in many states, but dispensing it through retail facilities. I sincerely hope that we are not on a path of repeating the same mistakes that we made a few years back with the pill mills irresponsibly dispensing Oxycodone – without prescriptions in some cases.
The Examiner: Have you seen and uptick in marijuana use among teens?
Karen: The number of teens coming into our drug and alcohol addiction treatment center reporting marijuana addiction is growing. Unfortunately, for some reason, insurance isn’t paying for marijuana addiction treatment. This is ridiculous, considering the fact that marijuana also affects brain development, and when it is used heavily by young people, its effects on thinking and memory may last a long time or even be permanent. You wouldn’t believe how many teens that have been denied by their insurance company for marijuana addiction. How can this be?
About Karen Corcoran Walsh
Karen Corcoran Walsh is the owner and co-founder of a prominent teen rehab Inspirations for Youth and Families. Karen also owns and runs the Cove Center for Recovery, an adult therapy program. Karen has appeared on the Dr. Phil Show and will be a guest on the Ask Dr. Nandi Medical Show this fall. She has also been featured on a host of other television programs and radio shows focused on teen behavior and substance abuse including “Teen Talk.”