Marijuana Use Is On The Rise
Pot can be easier to get than cigarettes and alcohol; although itcan be more dangerous and destructive. Why are more teen girls smoking marijuana than ever before?
At parties everywhere, or when a group of friends are just hanging out: If someone opens a beer or lights a cigarette, you probably think it is not a big deal. If you don't want to drink, you can always say you can't get busted by your parents for beer breath. Maybe you are not into smoking cigarettes, but not smoking doesn't make you feel lame - nobody really thinks twice if you don't want one. But if someone pulls out a joint or a bowl, you might find yourself torn. On one hand, marijuana seems harmless - you have never heard of anybody dying from an overdose of pot, and it is supposed to be natural right? Also, it seems like something different to do that would make a boring day much more interesting. On the other hand, you may have that nagging feeling: Could you get arrested if someone found out? Could your pot be laced with something that could kill you? Will it make you feel out of control or sick? Will you get paranoid and freaked out? But even these scenarios almost seem...exciting - they make you feel like you would look brave for trying something new, like you are more experienced or cooler.
The thing is, pot does affect your body in harmful ways. It drains your memory power and makes you move slower (dangerous when you are driving or in a car with someone who is high.) It could make you gain weight or get acne. The scary reality is that pot is stronger than ever, and is often linked to psychosis, meaning it could make you hallucinate, and in some people, set of symptoms of schizophrenia. Still, more girls are smoking marijuana. When the pressure to smoke pot seems high and the risks of doing it seem low, it can be easy to be convinced that you can handle it. It is not that simple. Read on for stories from real girls who thought it was no big deal - until they got seriously burned.
"I Smoked To Cope With Stress"
"My mom had a tough time making ends meets after my parents divorced when I was 14. She was always picking big fights with me over little things because she was so stressed. One weekend, I went to my friend's house to escape my mom's mood, and some kids were smoking pot. I thought it was harmless, so I took a puff. And within minutes, I felt a wave of relief, I smiled for the first time in months . So I couldn't wait to smoke again the next day. I kept smoking over the next few months, until I was doing it every day for hours.
Eventually my mom got a job and I was old enough to get one too. We weren't as stressed and we got along better, so I didn't smoke for seven months - it was easy to give it up when my life was going well. But then my mom was laid off and I broke up with my boyfriend. I felt so anxious that I started smoking again. Soon, I couldn't sleep without smoking. My grades slipped, but stressing about it made me want to smoke more .
But a few months later, something weird happened. No matter how much I smoked, the weed didn't give me a calm feeling. I'd hit a wall. There just wasn't a reason to smoke. So that night, I vowed to quit - and did.
Since I quit, I feel less stressed. The problem with smoking to forget you troubles is that you forget everything else too. I'm still tempted to smoke when I'm upset, but I handle it by pulling out a list of goals I wrote down to remind myself how much more I want from my life." - Jessica, 18
"I Started Smoking To Fit In"
"The first time I tried pot in eighth grade, I was at a party where everyone was a bit older. I felt out of place, so when someone offered me a hit, I said yes. Instantly I was a more comfortable version of myself. I started smoking more and more, and by high school graduation, I was doing it at least four times a week. But the more I smoked, all I cared about was smoking with friends. Last August, I ran into a guy I knew who asked if I wanted to make money selling pot. It seemed like easy cash, so I paid him $135 for 12 plastic baggies of weed, put them in an eyeglass case in my purse, and forgot all about it.
A few days later, I went shopping. And on the ride home, I realized I left my purse - with the pot! - on the checkout counter. I went back into the store, and when I asked a greeter if he'd found it, he told me to wait. After about 20 minutes, a detective with a gun on his hip came toward me; I was terrified. He took me to the police station, where I told the truth about where I'd gotten the weed. A few hours later I was released - but two months later, I went before a judge, who sentenced me to 30 days in county jail for 'felony possession' and 'intent to deliver.' I was hysterical and ashamed - the court was full of people who knew me.
The first few days in my cell, all I did was cry. But I had no one to blame but myself. So I thought hard about how to change, and after 24 days in jail, I was released for good behavior. Now I don't hang out with smokers, and I'm going to college. It killed me to read my sister's letter in jail about how much she missed me. And I'm just now fixing things with my parents. I never realized how many people could suffer, just so I could have a good time." - Cindy, 19
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