What’s the Biggest Health Threat Facing Teens?
In an age where recreational marijuana use is legal in several states and medicinal marijuana use is becoming more prevalent, many parents are concerned about their teens getting access to weed. Naturally, you don’t want your child to break the law and use weed as a minor, even in places where marijuana use is legal, but how big of a worry should cannabis use really be?
The truth is that there are other habits that are far more harmful for teens, including:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 11 percent of all alcohol in the U.S. is consumed by people who are underage, and that 90 percent of alcohol consumed by people under the age of 21 takes place as a part of binge drinking. Each year, more than 4,000 underage people die due to drinking and more than 189,000 teens end up in emergency rooms due to alcohol.
Some known health risks of drinking include:
- Memory problems
- Brain developmental delays
- High blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke
- Digestive diseases
- Cancer of the breast, digestive system, and liver
- Liver disease
- Depression and anxiety
- Alcohol poisoning, which can be fatal
Studies have found that alcohol consumption also lowers teens’ inhibitions and causes them to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do. Alcohol has been linked to violence and homicide and to unprotected sexual activity in teens.
While smoking weed exposes the body to toxins, smoking cigarettes is still a bigger health concern among teens. Some of the potential effects of smoking include:
- Addiction to nicotine
- Hearing loss
- Night blindness
- Dental cavities
- Gum disease
- Throat cancer
- Premature wrinkling
- Heart disease
- Blood clots
- Lung disease
- Many kinds of cancer, including lung cancer
- Type 2 diabetes
- Hormonal imbalances
- Erectile dysfunction
- Poor immune system function
- Slow healing wounds
- Muscle aches
- Weak bones
While it’s important that you discuss the dangers and consequences of using a vaporizer for weed or smoking weed with your teen, as a parent, it’s important to keep things in perspective. Remember that there are other hazards that are much easier for teenagers to get a hold of than weed. Make sure that you include the dangers of drinking and smoking in conversations with your child about making good decisions for his or her health.