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04-03 National Youth Violence Prevention Week: Synthetic pot can push teens toward violence and substance abuse, says study

Posted in Addiction, Marijuana, Teens

National Youth Violence Prevention Week: Synthetic pot can push teens toward violence and substance abuse, says study Not all weed available in the market is natural. Synthetic is becoming increasingly available in the market. At times, vulnerable teens end up using synthetic pot or fake weed designed to lend an effect similar to the natural strains of marijuana. However, the effect of fake weed is stronger compared to the ones resulting from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) an ingredient in cannabis.

Not much data is available regarding the risks associated with synthetic cannabinoids (SCs). A recent study, titled “Health risk behaviors with synthetic cannabinoids versus marijuana,” tried to examine the nature and extent of behavioral risks related to synthetic cannabinoid use.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics in March 2017, suggested how SCs can cause feelings of dependence and can trigger further use of synthetic drugs. In addition, the researchers linked synthetic marijuana use to unrestrained drinking habits and violent behavior.

The researchers aimed to assess how harmful behavior like drug use, alcohol abuse, hostile behavior and lack of caution in sexual relationships stems from the abuse of SCs. They studied the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey that questioned 15,624 students in grades 9 to 12. The respondents self-reported about their level and kind of marijuana use and the nature of risky behaviors across four domains – substance abuse, participation in violent acts, quality of emotional and sexual health.

The researchers observed that an estimated one-third participants had used marijuana either once or had been abusing on a continual basis. Roughly 23 percent informed that they had consumed SCs at least once in their lives. Almost all the respondents who had acknowledged use of SCs also divulged details of having tried marijuana at some point in their lives and were more likely to have used drugs before they turned 13 compared to those who only took weed.

Risky behavior seen among users of SCs

A detailed analysis of the information provided during the course of the survey indicated how adolescents abusing synthetic marijuana manifested dangerous sexual inclinations. Approximately 15 percent teens who abused SCs reported having being involved in sexual relations before reaching 13 compared to 5 percent of those who confined themselves to the use of weed only and 2 percent who never used of any kind drug.

Moreover, 38 percent SC users confessed having had a minimum of four sexual partners when contrasted with 20 percent cannabis users and just 3 percent teens who did not use any drug. It was found that teens abusing SCs were more inclined to drinking and exhibited belligerent behavior. Roughly, a third of the SC users informed of being armed compared with just 19 percent marijuana users and 12 percent of those who did not use any kind of drug.

Among other kinds of risky behaviors, more than half of the SC users admitted having been involved in quarrels and arguments, while one-fourth of them were involved in irresponsible drinking and driving when contrasted with those who stuck to weed or took no drugs.

Marijuana abuse in teens is a common problem in the U.S. Prior studies have indicated how teenage marijuana abuse can lead to dependence that can affect the physical and psychological health of the user. The findings can help design and execute effective prevention and intervention programs to prevent abuse of any kind of drug, including marijuana.

Addiction treatment is imperative, not optional

Every year, the first week of April is observed as the National Youth Violence Prevention Week. The aim of this campaign, which began in 2001 is to spread awareness and help students and all concerned parties to prevent or reduce youth violence. Since drug abuse can lead to destructive behavior especially in the youth, it is important to help them become aware of the dangers of substance abuse and by kicking this habit, lead productive, healthy lives.

The Rancho San Diego facility of Sovereign Health offers substance abuse treatment to adolescents aged between 12 and 17 years. The adolescents enrolled with our treatment facilities can avail a combination of various medical and biopsychosocial assessment programs that can help screen, diagnose and treat various substance abuse disorders and related co-occurring disorders.

For more information about substance abuse treatment facilities in the U.S., call at our 24/7 helpline number at 866-615-7266 or chat online to get expert advice about addiction treatment options available in your vicinity.

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