The Real ‘Why’ Behind the Weed: Why Many Teens Turn to Marijuana

Whether you support the legalization of marijuana or not, most parents can get behind the idea that children and teens should not be using any marijuana products. For one thing, it is illegal for people under 21 to use marijuana, even in states that have legalized the recreational use of weed. But even worse, substance abuse, while young, can permanently alter the brain.

As teenagers’ brains are still developing—and will continue to develop until around 25 years old—experts recommend that marijuana use is restricted until after the brain is developed. And, for those parents concerned that legalized marijuana makes teens more likely to use weed, there have been studies that pointed out that the legalization of marijuana actually caused teen use to drop.

However, for troubled teens, using marijuana has a lot more to do with their mental health issues and not a matter of looking cool or being rebellious.

Teen Marijuana Use Isn’t Just About “Looking Cool”

While there are inevitably some teens who will abuse marijuana to fit in with peers and look cool, many teens have more in-depth reasons.

For instance, as anxiety and depression rates rise among our teenagers, these teens are looking for something that can help—and that something is often weed. Unfortunately, like all forms of substance abuse that is used to help manage emotions or physical conditions, teens can become dependent on marijuana to navigate their daily lives.

Teens who are struggling with mental health, over-stressed, or in some kind of physical distress need healthy ways to cope with their issues rather than relying on marijuana. That’s where parents come in.

Healthy Ways To Help Teens Address Stressors Without Weed

As the parent of a teen struggling with marijuana use, it is essential that you help your teen see that there are positive ways to deal with stressors that don’t involve using weed. Below are some alternatives your teen can try to help appropriately manage stress and traumatic feelings.

Encourage Regular Exercise Routine

Exercise has a wide range of health benefits, from improving cardiovascular health to boosting mental health. By swapping marijuana usage—which is largely sedentary—with exercise, your teenager can reap immediate mental and emotional benefits.

For instance, even 20 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise is able to release endorphins and other feel-good natural chemicals in the brain. According to research, the greater the intensity of the workout, the faster the release of these positive chemicals. So, if your teen can do a quick, vigorous workout before school, they can start their day off strong and without marijuana.

Help Teens Find Expressive Outlets

Many teens who are using marijuana often feel like they can’t express their emotions and may feel trapped by circumstances. These teenagers need a positive outlet, rather than falling into the escapism of marijuana. Some effective expressive endeavors are:

  • Art (painting, coloring, comic creation, etc.)
  • Journaling
  • Creative writing
  • Music (singing, instrumental, songwriting, etc.)

Take Your Teen To Therapy

Therapy is an essential component for teens struggling with substance abuse. As substance abuse is often rooted in emotional or mental struggles, working with a therapist can give your teen the tools to appropriately face their issues without self-medicating with weed.

There is also sliding scale therapy available for low-income families so that underprivileged teens can still receive the help they need. Licensed counselors at school are also an excellent resource for teens, especially if they feel pressured to engage in pot usage during the school day.

Have Teen Attend Therapeutic Boarding School

For those teens who struggle with marijuana relapses, it can be a sign that they need more immersive help that can be provided at a therapeutic boarding school for troubled teens. By attending a therapeutic boarding school, teens can learn positive coping methods and enjoy various types of therapy, ranging from individual therapy to group therapy.

Also, you don’t have to worry about your teen falling behind. While attending a therapeutic boarding school like Liahona Treatment Center, your teen will go through an accredited educational program. That way, your teen can catch up on classes that they might have done poorly in and earn a high school diploma, not just a GED.

If you would like to know more about our program to see if it can help your teen son learn to manage his mental, emotional, and physical health without marijuana, please contact us today.

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