www.moms.com

Highly Potent Marijuana Concentrates Gain Popularity Among Teens, Study Finds

It's thought that at least 10% of Americans smoke pot on a semi-regular basis, and it's one of the most widely available, commonly used drugs in the world. A study conducted by Arizona State University surveyed nearly 50,000 8th, 10th, and 12th graders. Around 33% of teens said that they have smoked weed at least once, but an even higher percentage have tried marijuana concentrates before. While campaigners are pushing for marijuana to be legalized across the world, it's not always as harmless as some may first believe.

These new "concentrates" contain three times the level of THC found in the usual street-bought pot from a plant. As THC is the component that gets you high, this statistic is cause for concern.

Often referred to as a "gateway drug", the abuse of weed can lead users to seek out different, stronger highs. If teens are dabbling with marijuana concentrate, it could cause further problems down the line and be more addictive than previously popular strains of pot. Concentrates don't look like the usual dry, crumbly type of marijuana parents might have seen before. Instead, it's brittle, can be wax or oil, and can shatter easily.

Continued abuse of the concentrate by young adults could have effects on a person's IQ, according to the Child Mind Institute. With important milestones like getting into college or making headway in a career often broached in late teens and early twenties, this could have a serious impact on a child's future.

In the study conducted by the institute, researchers speculate that many parents don't know if their child is smoking pot, let alone know that marijuana concentrate exists. There are a few key indicators that can be used to determine if an adolescent is dabbling with the drug, including bloodshot eyes, fits of giggles, laziness, poor hygiene, and slipping grades.

Keeping the line of communication open with your teen is often the best route to avoid any future problems. Making them aware of the risks, while also assuring them that they can talk to you can make a huge difference moving forward.

RELATED: Court Rules Mothers' Drug Use In Pregnancy Isn't Child Abuse 

Experts Asking Parents To Be More Active In Preventing Tooth Decay In Kids

More in Parenting