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What Are Edibles?

What Are Edibles?

Today, edibles are a popular way to consume cannabis products. Just like smoking or vaping marijuana, edibles pose many risks to teens. Some edibles contain THC or CBD. THC and CBD are both cannabinoids found in marijuana, but they are different from each other. Edibles that contain THC can make a person high. However, a person cannot become high off of CBD edibles. People usually consume CBD edibles in hopes of improving their health. 

Still, they both affect the body. 

What Are Edibles?

Edibles are food items, usually sweet treats, made from or containing cannabis. Some edibles contain either THC or CBD. Since THC edibles are still drugs, they can be extremely harmful if used chronically – especially since they have addictive qualities. These edible treats usually look like ordinary treats such as cookies, brownies, and other baked goods. Yet, unlike ordinary treats,  marijuana edibles contain higher levels of THC.

What Is THC?

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a substance found in the cannabis plant that has a psychoactive impact on the people who consume it. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), THC’s chemical structure mimics the brain’s chemical anandamide, neurotransmitters that influence thinking, memory, pleasure, coordination, and time perception. Because of this, the body accepts and allows THC to alter one’s mind. This component makes one feel high or euphoric from using cannabis products like edibles or marijuana. 

Subsequently, when a person consumes THC, the chemical attaches itself to the already present cannabinoid receptors in the brain. The now attached THC alters the user’s memory, thinking, concentration, and coordination while also activating the brain’s reward system, which ultimately increases dopamine levels. The hormone dopamine drives the urge to repeat rewarding and pleasurable behaviors making marijuana addictive. 

What Are the Risks of Using THC Edibles?

THC edibles can lead to dependence, psychosis, and other health risks. For example, people who are sensitive to the psychoactive properties of  THC may experience intense feelings of anxiety or paranoia. Additionally, people with mental health issues like schizophrenia may become agitated and violent after consuming THC edibles. Other THC risks include:

  • Impairing motor skills and concentration for up to three hours after consumption.
  • Diminishing motor functions such as walking, driving a vehicle, or performing routine tasks.
  • Adolescent users of THC may perform worse on cognitive tests.
  • Continued use of THC may cause a SUD to marijuana or more potent substances.
  • THC use lowers IQ, memory, and cognition, especially in adolescents.
  • THC can adversely interact with other drugs or certain medications.
  • Heart problems due to rhythm irregularities.
  • May aggravate symptoms of trauma, depression, and anxiety.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound derived from the cannabis plant. It does not cause a high but may treat various ailments. Unlike marijuana’s cannabinoid, THC, CBD does not produce psychoactive effects. While marijuana use can lead to dependence, current research suggests that CBD is not addictive. This is likely because CBD lacks the properties common to other cannabinoids such as THC.

Unlike THC, CBD does not bind to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Instead, CBD impacts the endocannabinoid system by activating the serotonin and adenosine receptors. Subsequently, people with seizure disorders, chronic pain, anxiety disorders, and many other ailments turn to CBD edibles like hemp oil, hemp powder, gummies, and cookies to treat their pain or anxiety. 

What Are the Risks of Using CBD Edibles?

CBD doesn’t hold as many dangers as THC. However, it is important to monitor the frequency and amount of consumption. You should also consider the means and process of manufacturing and harvesting hemp or CBD. The FDA has not required manufacturers of CBD hemp oil or edible products to prove that they are safe or effective. 

Side effects of CBD may include dry mouth, lightheadedness, drowsiness, and in some cases, liver injury.

Signs Teens Are Using THC Edibles

There are a few signs that your teenager is using THC edibles. Though teens may try to conceal THC use in sweet edibles like candy or cake, the chemical will impact your teen’s behavior. Fundamental behavioral changes include:

  • Unexplained presence of intense emotions like anxiety, agitation, or euphoria.
  • Isolation from loved ones in an attempt to hide their THC use.
  • Developing or exacerbating mental health issues. 

Finding Treatment for THC Substance Use Disorder

If your teen’s cravings for THC or CBD interfere with their daily life, it’s time to seek help. At Clearfork Academy, we offer support for those struggling with all forms of SUD—including those involving marijuana edibles. We provide adventure therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, medical detoxes, and a supportive environment to help your child. 

The use of edibles may be legal in some areas, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any harmful effects associated with them. As more states continue to legalize marijuana, edibles will grow in popularity. Yet, they can damage a teen’s health and cause addiction. The long-term effects of marijuana edibles aren’t entirely known, but studies have proven that the drug negatively impacts cognitive function and brain development in adolescents. THC found in edibles can also trigger psychotic symptoms in young people. Unfortunately, many teenagers who use edibles develop cravings for THC or CBD. Such cravings can interfere with their daily lives, having adverse effects on their physical or mental health. If your teen is experiencing problems with these cannabinoid products, it’s time to seek help. At Clearfork Academy, we offer support programs for all types of addiction, including marijuana edibles. To find out more about our treatment programs, contact our admissions team at (888) 966-8604.

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A Therapeutic Approach to Marijuana Addiction

A Therapeutic Approach to Marijuana Addiction

During the teenage years, the exploration into drugs and substances is more common than what parents would like to accept. Whether it is influenced by peers or a drug they stumbled upon, teens often find their way into the world of substances. Unfortunately, exploration and exposure can lead to addiction.

After alcohol use, the most common substance used among teens is marijuana. Luckily, there are treatment programs available to help your teen recover from marijuana abuse.

What Is Marijuana Addiction?

Marijuana, also known by other terms like “pot” or “weed”, is a psychoactive drug that many people enjoy for the “high” effect it brings when consumed. There is much discussion around whether one can truly be addicted to marijuana the same way some are addicted to other drugs like meth or alcohol. The perception that users don’t experience severe withdrawal symptoms from stopping marijuana use, causes a belief that it is not an addictive substance. But it has been proven that is simply not the case, especially in teens.

Marijuana use disorder is when a person has grown a dependence on the drug and feels withdrawal symptoms after stopping use. Drug dependence occurs when the brain adjusts to large amounts of a drug, which causes the person to need higher amounts and use more frequently.

Signs Your Teen Could Be Using

Marijuana affects your teen behaviorally, cognitively, and physically. If you are concerned that your child is misusing marijuana, these are a few red flags you should be on the lookout for:

Behavioral signs

Marijuana addiction can cause behavioral changes that can be noticeable to other people, especially parents. There are many behavioral changes that are associated with the use of marijuana. Teens can become “spaced out” or seem very mellow and relaxed. This may come across as slower speech, lack of eye contact, or disappearing into their own bubble for long periods of time. For some teens, the behavioral effects can be agitation, irritability, or disorganization.

Cognitive signs

Teens who regularly use marijuana will often have foggy memory and have a hard time staying focused. They may not remember anything that happened while or before they used marijuana. Emotional regulation or a complete lack of emotions are very common in regular users.

The cognitive effects of continuous heavy marijuana use in teens can reflect academic performance. Poor concentration, time management, not being able to retain information makes it very hard for teens to perform well academically.

Physical signs

Physical signs are often the most prominent signs of marijuana use. When your teen is under the influence their eyes may become low, glassy, and/or bloodshot red. Their eyes can also become very dry causing them to rub at them. Slight weight gain can happen due to becoming extremely hungry, also called the “munchies”, after reaching the high. When under the influence of marijuana, THC tricks the brain into believing that the body is hungry instead of full. The smell of marijuana is very potent and lingers onto clothing for long periods of time which is an obvious sign of usage.

Impaired coordination such as stumbling around or slower movements can be seen after usage. A teen using marijuana may often appear to be intoxicated as if they have consumed alcohol. Delayed reactions and slurred speech may become apparent when under the influence.

How To Help

If you suspect that your teen is using or abusing marijuana, knowing how to take the proper steps to help them is key to recovery. As a parent, it can be easy to let your emotions get the best of you but offering a caring approach to addressing your concerns is best. Here are a few strategies to use when helping your teen deal with marijuana addiction.

Set boundaries. One key aspect of helping your child recover from substance abuse is setting clear boundaries for all parties to respect. Setting rules regarding their substance use places restrictions on what behaviors you will and won’t accept while setting a consequence for them. This could mean requesting that no form of marijuana or any other drugs be brought into the house at any given time.

Discuss peer pressure. During the adolescent years, friends typically have the highest level of influence on teens. They find their sense of self-worth and acceptance from who they hang around and interact with. Set aside time to have a conversation with them about making healthy and independent choices without the influence of peers. Teach them that it is ok to not want to partake in the actions of their peers and how to say “no” to something they don’t want to do.

Find professional help. Helping your teen physically quit using marijuana is only one part of the process. Marijuana and substance abuse often co-exist with a co-occurring disorder that the teen may be trying to mask. Many teens turn to drugs to cope with illnesses such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, or ADHD. Allow their pediatrician or mental health professional to do a thorough assessment of your teen so that they receive the right form of treatment.

Provide support. Positive reinforcement in your teen’s life is crucial to helping them feel confident about themselves. It lets them know when you are proud and encourages them to do their best again. Creating a strong and supportive bond with your teen might help prevent potential drug use because they are more trusting of you.

If you are concerned that your teen is addicted to marijuana or other substances, know that there are resources available for help. Clearfork Academy offers treatment programs for various forms of substance addictions along with co-occurring illnesses. We safely assist our patients through the detox process with our medically trained professionals, where after completion they transition into our residential program. Drug use often manifests due to teens wanting to cope with internal feelings that bring them discomfort or sadness. Through our recovery program, we strive to teach your teen healthy coping strategies that they can carry with them throughout their life. We offer both residential and intensive outpatient treatment programs to best fit the need of your child and their schedule. It is never too late or too soon to get your child the help they need. Contact Clearfork Academy at (888) 966-8604 to find out more about our treatment programs today. 

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What Are the Risks of Using Marijuana to Reduce Anxiety?

thoughtful young man sitting on a couch

In the United States, marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug among teens. In fact, according to a recent study, nearly 27 percent of high school students have tried marijuana. However, using marijuana can perpetuate symptoms of anxiety. 

With all these harmful effects in mind,  many teenagers continue to consume marijuana to reduce anxiety. Yet, the risks of marijuana often outweigh any benefits. Let’s look at the risks of using marijuana to treat anxiety and explore alternative therapies. 

About Marijuana

Marijuana is high in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC composes most of marijuana’s psychoactive components. The content may vary depending on the strain of marijuana and its intended use. While marijuana might treat anxiety, many teenagers also use it for recreational purposes in social gatherings or at home. Since marijuana is becoming easier to attain, teens could quickly develop a substance use disorder. 

The Link Between Marijuana and Anxiety

The ongoing controversy about the safety of marijuana continues to evolve significantly regarding teenagers. Teenagers experience pressure because of their schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and relationships. Alternatively, anxiety remains a serious issue among teenagers. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to your teen’s behavior to help you understand the signs of anxiety. 

Some examples of anxiety include: 

  • Separation Anxiety: Experiencing severe fear when separated from loved ones or caregivers.
  • Phobias: Showing severe fear regarding certain circumstances or things like going to the mall or encountering insects or animals.
  • Social Anxiety: Exhibiting terror over places where they will encounter people.
  • General Anxiety: Worrying about the future or fearing the worst-case scenario happening.
  • Panic Disorder: Experiencing sudden, unexpected, intense fear that comes with symptoms like heart pounding, having trouble breathing, or feeling dizzy, shaky, or sweaty.

When anxiety becomes severe, many teenagers use marijuana to reduce symptoms. They might feel drawn to it because of its euphoric effect. In addition to peer use, willingness to use might be influenced by how some adults respond to marijuana and its portrayal in media.  

According to a 2017 national survey of more than 9,000 Americans, 81 percent of participants stated that marijuana provided the following benefits:

  • Increased sense of calm
  • Improved relief from stress
  • Improved sleep

However, marijuana holds many disadvantages. Further, these adverse symptoms have a more pronounced effect, particularly in teenagers. 

THC and the Adolescent Brain 

A study discovered that the THC in marijuana causes harm to the adolescent brain. THC directly interferes with the central nervous system’s processes that regulate emotional and cognitive behaviors. The study also reveals that continued marijuana use can lead to risky behaviors such as increased marijuana use and aggressive and delinquent behaviors.

Additional consequences of marijuana use among adolescents include:

  • Poor decision making
  • Lower aptitude for learning and recalling information
  • Short term memory loss
  • Poor performance on tests due to lack of attention and memory
  • Slower processing speed, poor verbal skills, and sequencing abilities

What Are the Dangers of Using Marijuana?

Marijuana use can pose many dangers, such as impaired judgment and loss of motor skills.

Other common dangers of marijuana include:

  • Marijuana is highly addictive and can lead to a substance use disorder.
  • Teens can experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop using marijuana. Marijuana withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, depression, lethargy, loss of appetite, irritability, and cravings for marijuana.
  • Continued marijuana use may cause sudden mood swings and increased anxiety among teens.
  • High doses of marijuana can cause teens to experience psychosis. These hallucinations could be auditory or visual.
  • Continued dependence on marijuana may lead to teens being more passive or withdrawn from their environment or previous interests.

Anxiety-Relieving Activities 

If anxiety becomes severe, your teen can benefit from behavioral therapies to reduce anxiety. Such treatments often include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Using CBT will help your teenager reduce their anxiety. CBT treats anxiety and depression and can uncover the root of their negative feelings. It also functions to change the thought patterns from negative to positive. By instilling effective thinking patterns within the teen, their behaviors improve.

In addition, there are many other natural options for anxiety relief that don’t require the use of medical marijuana or any other medication. 

Practices that help reduce anxiety include:

  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Journaling
  • Breathwork
  • Yoga
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
  • Support groups
  • Exercise

Utilizing these practices will build the foundational elements necessary for a teen to continue to develop and grow. Such tools will also help them confront challenges, develop problem-solving skills and attain better confidence and self-esteem. Taking any medication or using marijuana to treat anxiety always poses a risk. Therefore any medication to treat anxiety should be discussed and approved by a healthcare professional. 

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I Think My Teen is Smoking Weed

Has your teen been acting out of the ordinary? Are you smelling an over-use of cologne or maybe even the musty smell of marijuana on their clothes? These could be red flags that they’re hiding a new past-time. 
Recreational drug use can be alarming, but don’t panic if you think your teen may be smoking weed! It’s important to determine what’s actually going on before jumping to conclusions. If you have cause for concern, here are some practical steps you can take:

 

  • Understand the Situation

The most important thing for you to do is try to gain an understanding of the situation. This goes beyond figuring out if your teen is smoking weed, and into your own knowledge of marijuana. It’s time to do your research.
Find out more about what marijuana was historically and what it is today. What are the different types? The brands? The intensities? There is a multitude of information out there on the subject. Educate yourself, but don’t fall into a blackhole of marijuana articles. Knowing the facts will help you talk to your teen and better understand their situation.
Click here for more information on marajuana abuse.

 

  • Start the Conversation

Now that you know more about the drug, you can start to figure out what your child’s relationship to weed may (or may not) be. Opening a judgement-free conversation is key to learning more about their situation. Was it a one time usage? How often are they smoking and how much? Where are they getting their supply? 
Let them take part in the conversation. Coming to them as an authoritative parent could cause your teen to withdraw or push back. That’s not the goal. You want them to feel safe talking to you, and explaining their side of things.

 

 

  • Address The Behaviors

If your child is smoking weed, it’s okay to confront them. Sometimes it’s easier to address the behaviors and not really the person or the use. Regardless of whether or not they view smoking as bad or unhealthy, there are likely underlying behaviors that are cause for concern. Are they staying up too late? Are they spending too much money buying weed? Have they started engaging in risky behaviors like theft or skipping school? 
By addressing their behavior, the conversation moves away from just a difference of opinion in recreational drug use. If smoking weed is causing them to behave in ways that go against your family’s core values or expectations, make that the central point of your conversation.

 

  • Get Professional Help

Whether it’s for your teen, your family, or yourself, it’s ok to get help! Dealing with drug use can be overwhelming and put an enormous strain on everyone involved.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions, or to look at treatment options if the behavior continues and especially if it worsens.

 

If you think your teen may be abusing marajuana or other substances, you can always reach out to us here at Clearfork. Our website has lots of information on teen drug use, treatment options, and how we may be able to help. www.clearforkacademy.com 
We also have substance abuse specialists available 24/7 to evaluate your situation and help determine what your next steps should be. Please give us a call at 888-966-8604, or email us at [email protected]

 

Are you wondering if your teen may have a substance abuse problem? Download our free “Teen Substance Abuse 101” guide. This comprehensive guide will walk you through discovering if your child has a substance abuse problem, and what to do next! Download your free guide here: Download Now