Despite more states across the country continue to decriminalize or legalize marijuana use, the number of teens smoking pot has actually declined.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that teen marijuana use has not increased for the past four years and actually dropped slightly in 2014, the first year several states began legalizing it. However, even more potent forms of marijuana are beginning to become more popular among this same population.
A Look at Hash Abuse
A new research project from New York University, published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, examined hashish use among high school seniors between the years of 2007 and 2011.
Data was collected from the annual survey Monitoring the Future, which assesses 15,000 high school seniors each year.
Lead researcher Joseph J. Palamar, PhD, MPH, found that nearly 10 percent of the teens had ever used hashish, but 25 percent of those who identified as marijuana users also smoked hashish. His team noted that using other illicit drugs also increased the risk for hashish use.
Evaluating the Statistics
Perhaps surprisingly, women were at much lower risk for hashish use than men. However, the same findings did not apply to general marijuana use.
"Interestingly, our research found that students using marijuana because they identified as being "hooked" on it nearly doubled the odds for hashish use," said Dr. Palamar.
"Since it is the more frequent marijuana users and those who feel they are hooked who are more likely to use hashish, in some instances hashish use can be used as an indicator of severity of marijuana use."
How is Hash Abused?
Just like marijuana, hashish can be smoked, vaporized, cooked in food or concentrated into an oil.
The side effects are similar to those of weed and can include anxiety, distorted perception and impaired memory and learning abilities.
But while a standard marijuana joint contains anywhere from a 0.5 to 5 percent concentration of THC, the main psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana, the THC concentration in hashish is 2-20 percent. It can even be as high as 50 percent in some cases.
Addressing Hash Use
Few states have attempted to address hashish use directly, but one of those attempts was ill-advised at best. Members of Oklahoma’s state Senate overwhelming passed a bill in April 2011 that could spark mandatory life sentences for anyone converting marijuana into hash.
Legislative analysts have slammed the bill, claiming it would cost taxpayers $20,000 to keep just one hash offender imprisoned for a full year.
If your child is struggling with a hashish addiction, there are special residential facilities to address both the psychological and physical symptoms of this problem. Many of them also offer behavioral disorder treatments that teach users coping mechanisms to help with long-term abstinence. You should check beforehand to make sure the facility has been accredited by a national or international organization.
Hashish use may seem like recreational fun, but adolescent use of this drug can create long-term consequences that extend well into adulthood.
Additional Reading: Weekend Drug Use Usually Turns into Weekday Use
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