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Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug for Teens?

It’s no secret that marijuana use is popular among teenagers. With the substance being legal in most states, it has become more accessible than ever. It is also widely considered to be safe and even healthy. But there are also many side effects and disadvantages for teens who use marijuana.

With this increase in popularity and use comes an increase in the potential for misuse and addiction. Can it lead to the use of more dangerous substances? Is marijuana a gateway drug for teens? If you are concerned about your teen’s marijuana use, consider Zelus Recovery’s Idaho young adult rehab center. We can help you navigate your teen’s substance use and help them get on the road to recovery. Contact us at 208.518.0797 today for more information.

What Is a Gateway Drug?

A gateway drug is defined as a substance that leads to the use of other, more harmful drugs. Gateway drugs are often associated with teenage drug use because of the increased likelihood of experimentation during this time in life. However, it’s important to note that not all teenagers who try gateway drugs will go on to develop substance use issues.

One of the biggest dangers of marijuana use for teens is that it can be a gateway drug, leading to more dangerous substances down the line. Many teens who start using marijuana may eventually experiment with harder drugs like cocaine or heroin. Additionally, there are many other adverse side effects of marijuana use for teens, including memory loss, anxiety and depression, and impaired judgment.

Marijuana as a Teen Gateway Drug

While marijuana may not be as harmful as other drugs, it can still lead to the use of other substances. This is because marijuana can act as a teen gateway drug in two ways:

  • First, marijuana can lead to the use of other drugs simply because it is illegal. When teens obtain marijuana through illegal means, they are also likely to come into contact with other illegal drugs.
  • Second, marijuana can lead to the use of other drugs because it alters the brain in ways that make other substances more appealing. For example, studies have shown that teens who use marijuana are more likely to abuse alcohol or tobacco later in life.

The Risks of Teen Marijuana Use

In addition to acting as a teen gateway drug, teen marijuana use also comes with its own set of risks. These risks include:

  • Impaired brain development – Marijuana use can cause changes in the brain that can lead to problems with learning and memory.
  • Increased risk of mental health problems – Teens who use marijuana are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia later in life.
  • Impaired judgment and decision-making – Marijuana intoxication can lead to poor judgment and decision-making, which can put teens at risk for accidents and injuries.
  • Addiction – Teens who use marijuana are likelier to develop an addiction than adults who use marijuana.

Marijuana use in teens may not be as harmful as some other drugs, but it can still lead to serious consequences. If your teen is using marijuana, it’s important to seek professional help right away.

Learn About Teen Marijuana Use at Zelus Recovery

At Zelus Recovery, we specialize in treating teens with substance abuse problems. We offer a variety of treatment options that are tailored specifically for adolescents, including individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your teen get on the road to recovery with our teen substance abuse treatment center in Idaho. Contact us by filling out our secure online form or by calling us at 208.518.0797 today.