Is Marijuana Still Considered a Gateway Drug
Written by Craig Rogers, in Section Parent Resources
Though years of research have yet to prove marijuana is a gateway drug, it can cause a myriad of problems in a young person’s life.  These issues are further exacerbated when a young person is suffering from mental health concerns. Although the initial use of marijuana may not lead to harder drug use, this drug can often lead to drug abuse and addiction which can be problematic for troubled teens and their family members.
Hear from a Child-Adolescent Psychiatrist
Many teens and even adults see marijuana as an “herbal remedy” that is safe to use; unfortunately, they are mistaken. The active chemical in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC. As THC enters the brain, it binds with cannabinoid receptors in different areas of the brain. When this chemical reaction occurs, a young person begins to lack the ability to focus and concentrate. They will also find it arduous to coordinate their body movements.  Unfortunately, marijuana use can also lead to an impediment in judgement which often further compounds a teen’s issues with making poor decisions.
Marijuana also causes problems with a person’s breathing and their heart rate. Those with asthma and heart disease can suffer life-threatening issues from inhaling marijuana smoke. Many parents and young people alike are alarmed to find out this drug can actually cause mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult for parents to be sure their child is using marijuana. The signs of substance abuse typically escalate when troubled teens have a history of addiction. Parents may notice their child’s behaviors are changing in negative ways.  Teens may lack motivation, make sudden major changes in relationships, or begin failing in school. Though it can be frightening for parents to witness, there is help available for struggling adolescents and teens who are exhibiting emotional immaturity and seem to consistently make poor life decisions that place them at risk.
WinGate Wilderness Therapy offers a comprehensive treatment program for teens and young adults who are struggling in life. We provide therapy for young people who are suffering from mental health and behavioral issues. Through the power of nature, young people are taken away from their oppressive peers and accustomed surroundings. With no outside distractions, they are able to fully focus on their recovery from substance abuse and addiction so they can live a sober and effective life. We are here to provide the answers parents are searching for so they can help their struggling child.
 https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana - Drug Facts: Marijuana
 http://www.ischoolguide.com/articles/29835/20151016/marijuana-gateway-drug.htm - Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug? Addiction Psychiatrist Answers
 http://www.drugfree.org/resources/is-your-teen-using-signs-and-symptoms-of-substance-abuse/ - Is Your Teen Using? Signs and Symptoms of Substance Abuse