The Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences (FNHS) at Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU), organized on November 23, 2017, a lecture titled, “Youth and Marijuana,” presented by Psychiatrist and Addiction Specialist Dr. Francois Kazour.
Dr. Kazour gave the audience an overview of health problems, most affected groups, prevalence rate, health effects, and measures for prevention. The lecture also highlighted the use of marijuana among youth aged between 15 and 25.
He said, “Fifty percent of subjects who have ever used cannabis have tried it previously or by the age of 18, and twenty percent become regular users. Thirty-three to fifty percent of daily users develop dependence and nine percent of lifetime cannabis users become addicts. Less than ten percent seek any treatment.”
Marijuana is a mixture of dried flowers and leaves from the cannabis sativa plant. It goes under several names: cannabis, pot, hash, hashish, weed, etc. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the main active ingredient in marijuana and is said to be the most illicit drug in the world. THC can be extremely addictive. Once inhaled, THC takes about 14 seconds to reach the brain. The higher the concentration of THC is, the higher the risk of dependence becomes.
Individuals use cannabis to relax, experience euphoria, relieve symptoms of anxiety or depression, and/ or relieve physical symptoms. Nonetheless, cannabis intoxication causes, among other effects, hallucinations, irritability, mood instability, speech and breathing impairment, tremors, and muscle spasms.
Marijuana withdrawal symptoms include anger, irritability and restlessness, anxiety, depressed mood, sleep difficulties, weight/ appetite changes, and physical discomfort.
Education and awareness sessions are essential for youth to learn more about preventive measure and raise their awareness of marijuana’s harmful effects.