In the beginning, I described the Amanda Todd story as being a bit like a jigsaw – all the pieces were there, it was just a case of putting them together. Since then, however, I’ve begun to see it as being more like a Rubik’s Cube – twists and turns that lead nowhere, getting one side sorted only to find it goes into confusion when another side is sorted. And I’m not sure I’ll ever get to a finished result.
So much of this story beggars belief that I, myself, have begun to find it difficult to know what’s the truth and what isn’t. And that was how I felt when I looked at the drink and drug aspect of this story. In a way, I refused to believe that a vulnerable child would be allowed access to drink and drugs. I convinced myself that it simply couldn’t be true, or that it was exaggerated. So many kids brag that they are heavy smokers after their first drag of a cigarette behind the bike sheds; so many kids like to think of themselves as experienced drinkers after a glass of sherry at Christmas; and so many kids like to think they are into drugs when they have probably purchased a sugar pill for 10 quid from a dodgy looking geezer at the club door. I assumed that Amanda’s description of turning to drink and drugs fell into that kind of category – it made good reading, but was probably just sensationalist nonsense.
But as time went on, I saw more and more evidence of a culture of heavy drinking and drug use surrounding Amanda. But the fact that all her friends were like that didn’t necessarily mean that Amanda would follow suit. It meant, for sure, that the possibility of Amanda being part of that culture was extremely high, but I could find no real evidence, apart from what she wrote in the video. So really, it was that worst type of ‘fact’ – an assumption, really, based purely on what I could find out.
But all that changed with the February 18th publication of the post in Carol Todd’s blog. Not only did Mrs Todd admit that her daughter liked a ‘blaze’, but she also said that she considered it trivial – not worth making into a battle. Readers will know that I was shocked, and I’m not going into yet another rant. It’s time to provide information.
There is a huge amount of online information concerning marijuana. It’s turned into one of those stupid things where for every person who says it’s good, there is another who proves the opposite; for every person who wants it legalised, there is another who wants it banned; and so on. It would be impossible for me to cover every angle, so I won’t. What I will say to parents of vulnerable children is this: if the pros and cons of marijuana seem to imply that it’s a 50/50 chance of being a destructive force, is that a bet you are prepared to take on the wellbeing of your children?
So I won’t be balanced in my portrayal of the perils of marijuana. I don’t think I need to be. If you’re dealing with a drug that has the SLIGHTEST chance of being detrimental for your kids, DON’T ALLOW IT. Here are some quotes about marijuana. As usual, these are all available online, and it’s up to you if you want to find out more. But I ask you to bear in mind the background to all this: Amanda was by no means a ‘normal’ kid. Her mother knew she was vulnerable. Amanda was not a resilient child. But mother allowed the use of marijuana. As usual, it’s all a disgrace.
‘Marijuana use may trigger schizophrenia or detachment from reality (psychosis) in people who are at higher risk of psychosis. The symptoms of diagnosed psychotic illness and its course may be aggravated if marijuana use continues. There is also some evidence that teenagers who attempt suicide may be more likely to have used marijuana than those who have not made an attempt.’
‘Marijuana can be even more troublesome for people—especially younger people—who live with bipolar disorder. In addition to worsening depression, marijuana can increase the likelihood of experiencing symptoms of psychosis—like hallucinations or paranoid ideas. In younger people who are at higher risk for bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, using marijuana increases the chances of developing a severe or disabling mental illness.’
‘there is a substantial amount of evidence to suggest that marijuana use, particularly frequent or heavy use, predicts depression later in life. Young women appear to be more likely to experience this effect. Marijuana can lead to symptoms of anxiety, such as panic, in the short-term, but there is a lack of evidence pointing to marijuana as an important risk factor for chronic anxiety disorders…Again, if someone has a genetic vulnerability or has an existing mental health issues, marijuana should be avoided.’
‘Some teens use marijuana to relieve the symptoms of depression (‘self-medicate’), wrongly believing it may alleviate these depressed feelings…However, recent studies show that marijuana and depression are a dangerous combination. In fact, using marijuana can worsen depression and lead to more serious mental health disorders, such as schizophrenia, anxiety, and even suicide. Weekly or more frequent use of marijuana doubles a teen’s risk of depression and anxiety…’
‘The effect is robust. It still remains, even if you take into account a series of other variables that could cause the effect, such as smoking behaviour, alcohol use, upbringing, personality and socio- economic status. Some people might think that young people with a disposition for depression would start smoking cannabis as a form of self-medication, and that the presence of depressive symptoms is therefore the cause of cannabis use. However, in the longer term that is definitely not the case. Although the immediate effect of cannabis may be pleasant and cause a feeling of euphoria, in the longer term we observe that cannabis use leads to an increase in depressive symptoms in young people with this specific genotype.’
Knowing what the negative effects of cannabis use could be is important because although cannabis may cause an immediate euphoric feeling, for a large group in the population its use can lead to an increase of depressive symptoms in the longer term.’
In fact, there is so much information about the detrimental effects of marijuana for young, vulnerable teens, that I would probably run out of space on my blog. Mrs Todd is meant to be an educated woman. She describes herself as computer savvy. So there is no excuse for her not knowing the detrimental side effects of marijuana. But for her, she deemed it OK for Amanda to ‘blaze’ because, after all, it’s not like she was driving a car or anything.
For further information, talk to Frank:
This is the beginning of a new direction for this blog. I hope now to bring more information on a daily basis, and to avoid simply trying to get to the truth about the whole story. That doesn’t mean that I won’t still have a dig at my favourite people, but I hope that that part of it will become less and less.
My main hope for today? That somewhere in the world, maybe a friend of a friend of a friend who reads this post may sit down and discourage their child from using marijuana, or that someone can pass on this advice. And, of course – that I win the lottery!
Ta ta for now. By the way – this post was powered by LemSip Max.