Do you recall seeing the “Talk Early, Talk Often” campaign throughout the last year?
This campaign is organized by the SUP Coalition in an effort to help educate and empower parents and other caring adults to have ongoing conversations with the young people in your lives around drugs and alcohol.
Although the coalition wants adults to have conversations on all drugs, we are specifically working to create awareness of issues surrounding youth marijuana use and its adverse effects.
While popular opinion and legal policies around marijuana have changed rapidly in recent years, misunderstandings about the potential impacts of this drug persist.
Today’s marijuana is more potent than the marijuana that was available to a generation ago. Potency is measured by the amount of the mind altering chemical THC that is contained in marijuana. In the 1980’s the concentration of THC averaged 4%. In 2012 the concentrations averaged around 15%. The mild euphoric feelings smoking marijuana left someone in the 1980’s have now been replaced by some users reporting being in catatonic states or hallucinating after using small amounts.
In 2016, approximately 21% of Sherburne County high school juniors reported past 30-day marijuana use on the Minnesota Student Survey, which was an increase of nearly 6% from 2013. The same year also saw decreases in perceived harm and less disapproval of use among teens.
Unfortunately, developing brains may be more prone to damage. The part of the brain which controls reasoning and impulses, known as the prefrontal cortex, isn’t fully developed until about age 25. Marijuana use can reduce thinking, memory, and learning functions. These effects may last a long time or even be permanent.
Marijuana use carries real risks for our youth, just as alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs do. Parents are the most powerful influence in a child’s life. Talk early and often about the risks, set clear rules against drug use, and enforce reasonable consequences for breaking the rules.
Learn more at sherburnesupcoalition.org/talk-early-talk-often.