Almost half of all high school students in Maryland have tried marijuana, while one in four seniors use it frequently.
Compared with the state, Talbot County high school students’ use of marijuana is slightly lower, at about 30%. Current use, meanwhile, is about the same, according to the latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
While recreational use of marijuana remains illegal in Maryland, the state has decriminalized small possession. Medical use is legal, although the rules for dispensaries are relatively stringent. Still, dispensaries are popping up across the state including the Mid-Shore, which can pose problems for parents discussing the dangers of the drug with their kids.
Advocates of marijuana often tout the drug as beneficial for a variety of reasons, yet research remains mixed. One thing that remains clear, however, is that recreational marijuana use is never ok for teens. Often called the “gateway drug,” many teens who develop a substance use disorder started with recreational use of marijuana.
Marijuana remains the most widely used illicit drug in Maryland, according to the National Drug Intelligence Center, with teen use the highest in decades. Health experts cite legalization efforts as one reason for these increases, along with common misperceptions that marijuana is harmless. The body of research increases that shows there are short- and long-term effects of using marijuana, on both physical and mental health.
For teens, the still developing brain is particularly vulnerable to substance use. Marijuana use also is linked to an increased risk of major depression in young adults, and an increase in suicidal thoughts. There also is evidence linking marijuana use to earlier onset of psychosis. Overall, the earlier and heavier the use the greater the risk.
Parents should consider having a talk about the dangers of marijuana use with their children. This discussion can include an overview of the potency of marijuana, along with its harmful effects. The National Institute on Drug Abuse offers a variety of information and resources online about teens and marijuana, at teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana.
Talbot Goes Purple is an educational and awareness prevention program that empowers our youth and our community to “Go Purple” as a sign of taking a stand against substance abuse. The purpose of the program is to promote the “new conversation” – one that includes prescription drugs, alcohol, marijuana and e-cigarettes. TGP focuses on educating students about the dangers of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, and works toward preventing kids from beginning to use these substances in the first place.
An initiative from the Talbot County Sheriff’s Office and Tidewater Rotary, in partnership with Talbot County Public Schools, Saints Peter & Paul School and the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, Talbot Goes Purple empowers our youth and our community to “Go Purple” as a sign of taking a stand against substance abuse.
Talbot Goes Purple is a component fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization – donations to which are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.