By: Victor Ng
THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical responsible for most of Cannabis’ psychological effects. THC levels are close to 100 percent nowadays; this rising concentration in Cannabis products are making teenagers addicted and ill.
A teen named Elysse started vaping cannabis at the age of fourteen. After inhaling the vape twice, she became addicted. Elysse described it as an “Insane euphoria”. At first, cannabis seemed harmless, it felt good and there were no side effects. However, soon enough, Elysse began feeling hungry, anxious, sad, and she even passed out once.
The products she purchased had very little scent and clear vapor, so it was easily hidden. The products she purchased were around 90 percent THC, and she assumed they were safe. This caused her addiction to spike, and she started vaping multiple times a day. Her parents found out after a year, in 2019.
Elysse’s father said they tried everything, but it didn’t work. In 2020, she started having an illness where she would throw up multiple times in a row. In one instance she even claimed to have thrown up in a mall for an hour.
In 2021, doctors recognized the vomiting was caused by cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, found in heavy marijuana users. This syndrome was rare so doctors still have little information on why it can be so severe.
Marijuana is a drug that can have very harmful effects on teenagers and young people, whose brains are still developing. There are short-term effects of vomiting and addiction, and long-term effects such as depression, suicidal ideation, poor memory, and changes in brain anatomy.
National surveys also show that the use of marijuana among 8, 10, and 12th graders have drastically increased over the past few years. Recreational cannabis is illegal in the States for anyone under the age of 21, but it has been easier to access as the laws of different states are changing.
19 states and Washington D.C have legalized cannabis for recreational use, and 37 states for medical use, but THC concentrations levels have yet to be controlled.