The last couple of years have seen not only a surge in mental health issues among teens, but also disturbing trends that could have legal implications as these children move into adulthood. Whether it has been due to academic pressure, boredom, or trying to escape the anxiety and hopelessness of lockdowns and other challenges, today’s youth are increasingly turning to drug use, and in particular marijuana derivatives, to sooth the pain.
That spells trouble for young people in Houston and throughout Texas, as the Lone Star State has some of the most severe penalties for marijuana, hashish, or concentrate possession in the country. Alarming numbers of middle to high school-aged students are using cannabis or concentrates, whether or not they live in a state that legalizes these substances.
The discreet prevalence of cannabis concentrates
Cannabis concentrates are extractions from the cannabis plant that contain high levels of Δ-9-tetrahydrocannbinol (THC), which is the psychotropic ingredient in marijuana. There are many ways of extracting THC, including water-based processing or through the use of flammable solvents, in particular butane.
The final product looks like a liquid wax or solid that can become a key ingredient in gummies and other edibles or vape pens. Teenagers can conceal their use a vape pen, which is odorless and smokeless, literally under the noses of authority figures both at home and at school.
The motivation for young people to use wax or other concentrates ranges from self-medication when dealing with anxiety or depression, to boredom or escapism. Unfortunately, there are longer-term effects with highly addictive concentrates that will linger long after the initial use, including long-term addiction, onset or worsening of mental health issues, lung problems, lower quality of life and decrease in IQ.
Parents and their concerns
For parents who are concerned about their children’s mental health, the added burden of keeping them out of trouble means watching out for telltale signs of drug use and knowing where to find strong legal advocacy should their child get on the wrong side of the law.