Smoking cannabis, especially at a young age, can pose various risks and dangers to one’s physical and mental health. It’s important to note that the effects and risks of cannabis can vary depending on factors such as the individual’s age, frequency of use, the potency of the cannabis, and their overall health. Here are some potential dangers for young people smoking cannabis:
Impaired cognitive development: The brain continues to develop well into a person’s mid-20s, and cannabis use during this period can negatively impact cognitive functions, such as memory, attention, and learning. This is a particular concern for adolescents and young adults.
Mental health issues: Some individuals, especially those with a predisposition to mental health conditions,
may experience increased risk of anxiety, depression, and even psychotic disorders like schizophrenia with heavy cannabis use, particularly when initiated at a young age.
Dependency and addiction: While cannabis is not as physically addictive as substances like nicotine or opioids, some individuals can become psychologically dependent on it, leading to impaired daily functioning and difficulty quitting.
Academic and occupational problems: Regular cannabis use can result in poor school or work performance, decreased motivation, and difficulties in meeting responsibilities.
Risky behaviours: Cannabis can impair judgment and coordination, increasing the likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors, such as driving under the influence, unprotected sex, or other unsafe activities.
Lung problems: Smoking cannabis, like smoking tobacco, can have adverse effects on lung health. Inhaling the smoke can lead to chronic bronchitis and lung infections.
Decreased educational and career opportunities: Some employers and educational institutions have strict drug policies, and a positive drug test for cannabis could result in missed opportunities.
Legal consequences: In many places, cannabis is still illegal for recreational use, and young people may face legal consequences if caught using or possessing it.
Reduced life satisfaction: Excessive cannabis use can lead to social isolation, lower quality of life, and a decreased sense of well-being.
Risk of exposure to contaminants: In regions where cannabis is not regulated or from unverified sources, there may be risks associated with consuming contaminated or adulterated products.
Tolerance and escalating use: Over time, individuals may develop a tolerance to the effects of cannabis, which can lead to using higher doses, making it more challenging to control usage.
It’s important for young people to be aware of these potential dangers and make informed decisions regarding cannabis use. If a young person is struggling with cannabis use or experiencing negative consequences, it’s essential to seek help from a healthcare professional or counselor who can provide guidance and support. Additionally, education and open communication between parents, caregivers, and young people are crucial for addressing these risks and promoting responsible decision-making.
Drug addiction: getting help
If you need treatment for drug addiction, you’re entitled to NHS care in the same way as anyone else who has a health problem.
With the right help and support, it’s possible for you to get drug free and stay that way.
Where to get help for drugs
A GP is a good place to start. They can discuss your problems with you and get you into treatment.
They may offer you treatment at the practice or refer you to your local drug service.
If you’re not comfortable talking to a GP, you can approach your local drug treatment service yourself.
If you’re having trouble finding the right sort of help, call the Frank drugs helpline on 0300 123 6600. They can talk you through all your options.
Charity and private drugs treatment
As well as the NHS, there are charities and private drug and alcohol treatment organisations that can help you.
Private drug treatment can be very expensive, but sometimes people get referrals through their local NHS.