What Our Kids Need To Know When They Are College Bound With Dr. Jill Grimes

Welcome to the show today. 

When our kids leave for college, it can be an exciting time but also a scary time. When our kids are in our home, we may have an illusion of control or at least some influence on their decisions and keeping them safe and now we can’t make sure that they are okay.

Then they leave, and we worry – will they make good decisions? Will they be okay? What if they are sick and don’t tell me or go to the doctor if it’s serious? Will they make friends? What if they are feeling homesick or anxious or depressed, or what if they go to a party and binge drink?

 It can be a really helpless feeling AND we know that it’s a necessary part of growing up to give them the space and opportunity to make their own decisions, figure things out, and not to be calling them all the time.

Well Dr. Jill Grimes is here to help us. She is an award-winning author of the the humorous and evidence-based “The ULTIMATE College Student Health Handbook: Your Guide for Everything from Hangovers to Homesickness” She is passionate about prevention.

We talk a lot about some of the bigger things that we worry about like alcohol and drugs in their episode and how we can talk to our kids.

As a proud Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, her practical and evidence-based advice covers all ages, genders and body parts. Dr. Grimes has always enjoyed educating, in and out of the exam rooms. Her message is shared across all media platforms, from print magazines and online forums, to radio talk shows and television.

As a parent of freshly graduated college students herself, Dr. Grimes is especially empathetic to the medical challenges these young people experience.

Let’s dive in! 

What You Will Learn: 

  • What do teen parents need to know about today’s party culture (that is different from what we experienced)?
  • Is “weed” a big deal or not? Isn’t it less dangerous than alcohol?
  • What is “blackout drinking”? (Lots of risks here that both parents & kids don’t realize, including legal risks with consent)
  • Fentanyl use and Narcan availability in college students.
  • Weed’s effects on mental health and genetics.

Where to find Dr Jill:

Find more encouragement, wisdom, and resources:

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And here is the episode typed out!

Welcome to the Moms of Tweens and Teens Podcast. If some days you doubt yourself and don’t know what you’re doing. If you’ve ugly cried alone in your bedroom because you felt like you were failing. Well, I just want to let you know you are not alone, and you have come to the right place.

Raising tweens and teens in today’s world is not easy. And I’m on a mission to equip you to love well and to raise emotionally healthy, happy tweens and teens that thrive.

I believe that moms are heroes, and we have the power to transform our families and impact future generations. If you are looking for answers, encouragement, and becoming more of the mom and the woman that you want to be, welcome. I am Sheryl Gould. And I am so glad that you’re here.

SHERYL:  Welcome to the Moms of Tweens and Teens podcast. Some days, you doubt yourself and don’t know what you’re doing. If you’ve ugly cried alone in your bedroom because you feel like you’re failing, I just want you to know you’re not alone and have come to the right place. 

Raising tweens and teens in today’s world is not easy. And I’m on a mission to equip you to love and to raise emotionally healthy, happy tweens and teens that thrive. I believe that moms are heroes, and we have the power to transform our families and impact future generations. 

Suppose you seek answers and encouragement to become more of the mom and woman you want to be welcome. I’m Sheryl, and I am so glad that you’re here.

SHERYL:  Hi, friends. Welcome to the show today. When our kids are in our home, we feel we have some control, even if it’s an illusion of control. But we can feel like we have some influence on their decisions and keeping them safe. 

And when they go to college or leave the nest, we worry they will make good decisions. Will they be okay? What if they are sick? And they don’t tell me, or they don’t go to the infirmary or the doctor? What if it’s serious? Will they make friends? What if they’re feeling homesick, anxious, or depressed? Or what if they go to a party and binge drink? 

It can be a helpless feeling. And we know, at the same time, that it’s a necessary part of growing up to give them space and that they need the opportunity to make their own decisions and figure things out without us calling them all the time. Which, by the way. I’ve done. I’ve done it, and it doesn’t work very well. 

I have a special guest here today, Dr. Jill Grimes. And she’s here to help us. She is an award-winning author of the evidence-based book The Ultimate College Student Health Handbook, your guide for everything from hangovers to homesickness. And she is passionate about prevention. 

We talk a lot about some of the bigger things that we worry about in this episode, like alcohol and drugs and how to talk to our kids. And it is very enlightening and informative. And I know that you’ll get so much wisdom and nuggets from giving it a listen today. So, let’s dive in. 

Well, welcome Dr. Jill to the Moms of Tweens and Teens podcast. I am so excited to talk to you today.

DR JILL:  I’m excited to connect with all of you. Thank you for inviting me. 

SHERYL:  Absolutely. And I’m so excited to have somebody like you on the show, to be talking about health, to be talking about our college students and all those things that keep us up at night. Keep us fearful and worried about how you wrote a book and want to hold it up for those who are looking at this on YouTube, and our listeners can see it. 

But it is called The Ultimate College Student Health Handbook, Your Guide For Everything From Hangovers to Homesickness, 225 Award-Winning Tips, Tricks, and Hacks. I love it. There you go. So we are going to be digging into all of the I’ve been reading. 

It is a great book for your kid and a good book to read yourself. I was like so many things I learned. And I want to talk about some of the things that stood out to me in the book that we worry about, like weed, drinking, binge drinking, STDs, all those things that we don’t want to talk about. I mean, but we do. 

But I want you to just tell them first. In the intro, I told all about your medical background and what you do. But what led you to write this book?

DR JILL:  Well, it’s a combination of my life and my passion. So I’m that mom who was also the Girl Scout leader. I’m crafty. I like making things, and I’m a family physician. And so it started because, for the YouTube people, I will show a demo here. 

I began making first aid and college kits as high school graduation gifts. And the first one I made, I was so excited. It was for our neighbor, who was our babysitter for our girls. And, she always came over to us, Dr. Jill, if there was ever a medical problem, whatever, mom said, go ask us, Dr. Jill. 

But I gave her this gift, which was all crafty and cute. And her mom’s like, Okay, this is great. But what? She doesn’t know how to use any of it. She rents her kitchen and gets out an index card. And she goes, Okay, when does she take Tylenol versus Advil, and she starts taking notes. Anyway, so that was the first kid I ever made. 

The next batch I made for the next year of babysitters, I started including my little index cards, which grew into a 20-page laminated booklet. At that point, I realized that, like, Yeah, especially before our girls go off, I want to say way more than just food poisoning and sprained ankles. I want to talk about insomnia and test anxiety, and all the things, so it became a book.

SHERYL:  Yeah, and you cover everything in this book. I love how you have it broken down into head, brain, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, neck, chest, stomach, back, and pelvic extremity scan. You cover it all, and what falls under that?

DR JILL:  Yes, I want it, and this is not a sit-down and read-it book except for moms. I know a lot of moms do sit down and read it. But this is a grab-it-when-you-need-it sort of thing. But also for kids in high school. 

A lot of times, the feedback that surprised me was how many kids were like, Oh, I thought I was the only one who feared public bathrooms. And they were nervous about that for college before they went. They had their own bathroom at home and would share little things with them. 

What people pick up on is very interesting, so I think it helps high school students to flip through it as they’re prepping for college. And again, it’s not something I expect people to sit down and read. It’s more of an I’ve got a splitting headache. Google says I have a brain tumor. Dr. Google is not very smart. So let’s, let’s see. Let’s see what else it might be.

SHERYL:  Yeah, I could have used something like this in college. How do I know when to worry about my sore throat? When do I do something about that? How do I know? Do such really good basic things stay in mind? I have a pinkeye I remember getting in college. 

DR JILL: Yeah, same. My southern Texas roommate told me I got a sty, and that was how I was. So I thought maybe I could do a little better than that with a rice sock, which offended me a little.

SHERYL:  Yeah, I’m thinking it because this will be broadcast before Christmas. This is something that’s a good Christmas gift. It’s wonderful; we’ll add it to our graduation gifts, a wonderful graduation gift to equip our kids. What’s the feedback that you have been getting from the book?

DR JILL:   I have honestly just been overwhelmed. This was my passion project. If nothing else, I was doing it for our two girls as they were launching to college, although, as it turned out, I took so long to get it done that the younger one was the illustrator. 

She has a degree in animation. She was a freshman, and she had already been an illustrator. She went to Loyola Marymount in LA and worked for their publishing press as an illustrator. And so this was the second book she had illustrated, but she became my illustrator. 

But anyway, the feedback that I’ve gotten has been that even though obviously, everybody in the younger generation knows our instincts, we have something wrong.

What are we going to do? We are going to ask Dr. Google, and that’s okay. But the problem is three in the morning when you have a bad headache. And, you go to Dr. Google, and you think you have a brain problem, or that’s just not helpful. 

And so I wanted people to have something to grab and answer the headaches to concerns to STDs. And even though everyone kind of knows, well, how do you avoid a hangover? You don’t drink but understand all the parts of the hangover and how you can feel better once you have one and the different parts of it or concussion. 

All these different things people have are in our extended friend group; people just text me, and they’re like, oh, my gosh, honestly, I get a lot of my kid was drinking, and they fell and hit their head, and then they were looking at your stuff about concussion. 

It was helpful because they knew what steps to take, they knew to go to their professors early on, they knew to go to their doctor early on, and they understood the process. So, it just warms my heart whenever someone says they just took a bad situation and made it less scary.

SHERYL:  Yes. And I love how you write it because it’s written for college students. It’s not like mom’s scolding you or anything like that. It’s very informative. It’s written in a playful, fun way. You did; you wrote it was such a great balance of information and truth and hor. I’m just like, wow, was that hard to do?

DR JILL:  No, because that’s how I practice. And I wrote it exactly how I talk to young adults, in the exam room, to honestly, tweens, teens, and young adults. This has always been family medicine, so I’m crib to cradle or coffin, whatever. 

But I have always had a special place in my heart for adolescents and young adults. I think I had great parents, but as a teen and in my tween years, I just wanted to be older than I was. And I felt like I wasn’t being heard as an equal. I felt like I wasn’t. I felt like I was being talked down to.

And so I’ve always tried never to do that. Puppy Love is a classic example. How many people? Oh, they’ve got a broken heart. Because their puppy love ended? That’s the devastating thing for that kid. And we have to acknowledge stuff as their experience. 

SHERYL:  That’s my guess, perfectly put; that’s what I sensed. You’re talking as an equal. You’re not talking down to them.

DR JILL:  And I try to be non-judgmental, as a truism. I have found that anytime you say, I or my kid would never –

SHERYL:  Oh, my gosh, I have done that. And it’s like, then you’re eating crow? So, yeah. What were you gonna say? God? 

DR JILL:  So, I am a straight shooter. And my patients know that I hate smoking. And that is something I’m unapologetically never gonna say: Yay, you’re smoking. That’s great. So, I am not judgmental about it. But I’m just going to say every time, this is why this is a problem.

SHERYL:  Yeah, very matter-of-fact, and just being a truth teller broke out of hearing concern. So, let’s dive into some of the tougher topics you share. And this is such a problem, as we all know, unfortunately, the party culture, the blackout drinking. Yes.

DR JILL:  I’d love to talk about that. 

SHERYL:  So, let’s jump into the hard stuff and the blackout drinking. You talk about that in the book. That’s a real problem now.

DR JILL:  And it’s a real problem. And there are two parts to it. One part that many doctors are unaware of is that our ADHD medications are contributing. And here’s the thing: when you take a stimulant ADHD medication, they’re not all extra. But Vyvanse and Adderall, Concerta all of those are stimulant ADHD medications. 

And when you take those, and they are active in your brain, and those are all long-acting medicines that I just listed, and so they’re active for 12 to 14 hours, even though the kids will tell you, oh, well, the effects wear off in four to six hours. Some do, but it doesn’t wear off in your brain. 

And so if you go out drinking, and you take your medicine, especially if you took your medicine four hours ago, and you are now out drinking, you are not going to feel a buzz from alcohol for several drinks, frankly. 

And it doesn’t mean the rest of your body, you’re still those blood alcohol levels are rising, it’s irritating your stomach lining, it’s irritating your liver, it is going to affect your brain, the warning signs are what’s blunted

The other part is that kids are doing shots instead of sitting around drinking beers, which fills you up. And you have to work at alcohol toxicity if you’re only having a beer because it’s just a quantity and filling up sort of thing. But a shot takes one second to drink. 

And if you’re doing multiple shots and not feeling it, especially if you’re doing them. So now you’re doing way too many. You go from being fine to drunk. And can I take a minute to explain what blackout is? Blackout drinking specifically?

SHERYL:  Yes. Yeah.

DR JILL:  So, blacking out is not passing out. That is, passing out is unconscious. And obviously, that’s alcohol toxicity. And that’s a medical emergency. But blackout drinking refers to when your blood alcohol level rises too high too fast. 

It turns off a little, so I think it is a switch that takes short-term memories and makes them long-term memories. And so you’re not creating long-term memories. So the next day, regardless of how awake or alert you seemed, you have a blackout of your memory, you have a memory gap, and nothing anybody shows you on their phone or tells you what you did is going to bring that memory that true memory back because you didn’t make long term memories. 

So, parents, let’s take this step further. And think about some extended effects of this if you were sexually intimate if you were physically intimate with somebody; kids all know now that it’s not just No means no. But you have to have enthusiastic verbalized consent and ongoing consent. 

Someone, if you are someone, may give you that consent, but you actually can’t consent when you’re drunk. But someone may have been saying yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. But the next day, if they had that situation where their blood alcohol level rose too quickly, too fast. They have no memory of that. 

And this creates some significant legal consequences about consent. And, of course, no one can consent if they’ve been drinking. But it takes it to a whole other level. And there are more and more lawsuits about this sort of thing. And this is not gender specific. We think about this as guys sexually abusing girls, and it goes both ways. 

SHERYL:  Wow. I never knew that. I mean, when you say oh, can I explain what a blackout drinking is? I’m like, Well, I know what that is. I can’t remember. But I never understood why that happened. 

And even thinking about that gap if it happens and the blood alcohol level rises too quickly. So does that mean too high, too fast? So would that be everybody? Okay, is that more likely to happen if you’re doing shots? Because it’s quick? 

DR JILL:  Yeah. Honestly, there are no absolutes in medicine, and you can get blackout drunk from beer or wine, but you would have to be shotgunning. You would have to be working at it. And we see it all the time now with shots because people think that is often the introduction to drinking, and it’s vodka shots. 

For a while, it was tequila, but it’s been bad. For years now, and that’s just that it has been a social norm, particularly not to pick on the Greeks, but especially in the Greek culture at many schools. 

SHERYL:  Yeah, yeah, the whole Greek system. You also talked about what to do if somebody passes out and what to be aware of. And that’s so that is so scary. And of course, the news tells us all those devastating stories about, yes, that had been hazed, and drinking and all of that, what do you have to say about that? 

DR JILL:  I have two things to say. And the first is that when we have to get across to our kids, if somebody is unconscious, and okay, so how if someone’s unconscious? That’s the most common question I get asked: What if they are just sleeping, drunken sleeping, or unconscious? If you cannot wake them up, they’re unconscious. 

Shake their shoulders and say their name loudly. Hey, Susan, wake up, wake up. If you cannot arouse them to where they can be coherent and talk to you, they’re unconscious, and you just need to get help, and people don’t want to call 911 for that. And they said, Well, if I did that for everybody, EMS would always be here. 

Well, what do you want to live with? That you could have saved someone’s life if you had called me; you need to call if they’re unconscious? If you cannot wake them up, they’re unconscious. You need to call for help. 

The second thing is that right now, we all know that there’s a Fentanyl crisis. Right? Our students are saying, Hey, here’s a Xanax. They call it a bar because it’s shaped like a bar. Here’s the Xanax. 

And, you’re super stressed, you haven’t been sleeping, you’re stressed. , just just take the Xanax, take it, while the Xanax has fentanyl in it. And that, if you and both, we see it in the party scene for people doing it to enhance their buzz, but we also see it in the dorm rooms and stuff. 

And again, if someone is unconscious, that’s an emergency. And in this day and age, I think if someone is unconscious, you need to give them Narcan, which is now an over-the-counter Narcan spray that reverses fentanyl. 

People say, well, how to do if it’s fentanyl versus just alcohol versus weed versus cocaine versus whatever? You can look at pupil size. But the reality is that some things dilate your pupils, sendings constrict them, and people rarely have one thing in their system. And so it does not harm. 

I want parents to hear this: it does not harm to give Narcan to somebody who does not have fentanyl in their system. It can only help. It can cost me money.

SHERYL:  Are they starting to carry that in dorms now?

DR JILL:  Yes, more and more. It just became nonprescription last month, and so is September because it was late September, but recently, and so now that it’s over the counter. There’s a lot of hesitation about having it available when it was only a prescription for legal reasons. I think most dorms are trying to have it available.

SHERYL:  Is that something that a parent should give their kids when they go to college? So if they see a kid that is passed out like this, they’re worried that they have it on hand? 

DR JILL:  Now, I include that in the next edition of my book. That was one of the new things I added because I didn’t put it before it again; it was a prescription, and there were other issues. But now that it’s over the counter, I think it belongs in every college student’s first aid kit. I do. 

And, people who say, Well, you’re not going to have it with you at a party. Well, honestly, at the parties you go to, people are routinely using pills and weed and cocaine and other substances in addition to alcohol. I would toss it in a backpack or a purse. 

I think somebody and our kids; it’s like there’s a fine line. We want our kids to help others, but I also want kids to know because what happens is the good kids – doing air quotes for those who can’t see me – the kids who choose not to drink, which, by the way, 20 to 30% of college students choose not to drink, a higher percentage choose not to use weed or other stuff. 

So it is not everyone, but within certain friend groups, it’s everyone. And so if you’re in a partying friend group, I think someone needs to have that. But you remember, you are not a doctor. Your job is to get help. If you have Narcan, you give that while on the phone with 911. And you can save a life. But you’re not fully responsible. You are responsible for trying to get help.

SHERYL:  Wow, I love that. You’re saying that because you can go, a kid might go, oh, I’ll just give it.

DR JILL:  Right, and a sleeping drunk person can become an unconscious person. I had a parent tell me just the other day that they were talking to me about their child, who’s at college, who got very drunk and fell and got a concussion, hit their head, and broke teeth; it was a pretty significant injury. 

And the paramedics were called, and they were there. And the paramedics said to this mom, do you want us to let her sleep it off? Like, oh, my gosh, the mom is a physician, and she’s like, No, take her to the hospital. 

And we can’t have that mindset if somebody is unconscious, especially in that situation where someone’s got a head injury on top of it, they need further assessment. 

SHERYL:  That is shocking. That’s why we need your book; we need to be educated, and our kids need to be educated about these things. You said something that I just think our kids need to know. 

They can just consider it, oh, they’re just passed out. And that is something that’s just kind of considered all they’ve been drinking, they’re passed out. But you mentioned that that is unconscious, like if you’re shaking them, and they’re not waking up, what could happen? 

DR JILL:  Honestly, the reality is that the majority of the time, they probably will be okay. But what about the minority of the time when they’re not? So what happens is, and this is one of the things that I try and explain, and I explain it in the book, that as your blood alcohol level is rising, and remember, it’s irritating your liver, it’s irritating your stomach lining. 

So you’re getting nausea, right? One of the things that happens is that your gag reflex is suppressed. So we all know that feeling when you’re eating popcorn or even just drinking water, we’re it goes down the wrong pipe, right? And then we have that forceful, insane, really strong cough. 

That’s our gag reflex that’s gone. So if you are passed out, and your blood alcohol levels are up, and all this stuff is irritation is going on, and you start vomiting, you choke on your vomit, and I’m sorry, no, that’s kind of a gross description. 

But that’s what happens. And that’s dangerous. Also, when your blood alcohol level gets high enough, you stop breathing. It suppresses your drive to breathe and combines alcohol with a painkiller like fentanyl. That’s what’s super dangerous because, again, it stops your drive to breathe. And that’s you. Just the part of your brain that controls your breathing stops. And so you die because you’re not breathing.

SHERYL:  Yeah, I think we all would. I think it’s safe to say we all know somebody that’s happened to, whether they’re at our high school. I mean, I know one of my kids played on a travel sports team, and the kid at college died. 

He had had a shoulder injury playing a sport, and he was drinking and taking painkillers. He died, right? Yes, stating, I know somebody else that one of my kid’s friends, they were with friends all drinking, and a friend passed out. They had just passed out, and they woke up, along with their friends. 

DR JILL:  Yeah, and your neck of the woods. I don’t know if you have run across it. A woman named Becky Savage. Her sons – two of her sons, Nick and Jack Savage, died on the same night at a graduation party. And they had they they took a pill.

SHERYL:  Wow. 

DR JILL:  Her there’s she they the they have a foundation they have a foundation to promote education about narcotics and how one pill can kill. 

SHERYL:  My gosh, that’s devastating two sons. One Yes. Same night

DR JILL:  I do feel for her, and I obviously can’t imagine. I give her and her husband kudos for moving forward from that devastating tragedy in their family and sharing their story with others. 

SHERYL:  Oh, yeah, it can happen. It can happen to anybody. That’s why it’s so scary for our kids to understand this. So we’re going to talk about weed and other things. 

And we’ve been on this because I think it’s so important to talk about, but how do we get it through to our kids if we, their brains aren’t fully developed, they are impulsive, they’re not connecting? 

I think everybody needs to get this book because you wrote in such a way that you want your you’re fascinated by. So I think it’s equipping our kids, where it’s talking to them indirectly through your words. 

Yeah, I think they need that. But what would you say to a parent that it won’t happen to you if you feel like your kid is all? Or what do you what do you say to them?

DR JILL:  Honestly, I think sharing stories is important. I’ve always said that stories are more powerful than statistics. And that’s why I start each little section with a little about what likely happened. And it’s a paragraph story. 

Still, people can remember stories. We remember episodes of Grey’s Anatomy; we don’t remember statistics of how many people have chlamydia. Yeah, but you remember the stories of your infertile friend because she had chlamydia, and it was missed and not diagnosed. And then she had scarring. And later on, she couldn’t have kids. 

You remember the stories. So I think, when there is, whether it’s a movie or a TV show that you’re watching, I think those stories about things like this happen because, unfortunately, they do happen a lot. And we do every one of us has it in our community. That is something to talk about. 

And we also have to acknowledge that it doesn’t happen to everybody. One of the things is that people want stuff to be black, and white parents want me to say that this is 100% awful or whatever. 

If I take a group of freshmen guys pledging a frat, and I tell them that 30% of college students don’t drink, they’re gonna think I’m stupid, they’re going to think I don’t know what I’m talking about. That’s a true and accurate fact, but not in their friend group. 

So, we just have to choose opportunities to share pertinent stories. And I’m not a parent; I’m not saying send your kid a story every single day. Sadly, they’re out there. If you look for them, unfortunately, they are out there. 

But I think following an Instagram account or looking for someone, like the savages, educating and sharing their stories, is a good idea. Yeah, racing, we can put it in your show notes. I’ll get it. I’ve got her book behind me somewhere that you can add. 

SHERYL:  Okay. Well, it’s very helpful to share stories, maybe even asking them a question like, I don’t know, have you heard stories where a kid has passed out and something bad happened? That might even ask them a question. It’s coming from them, too, because I’m sure they’ve heard some stories. 

DR JILL:  Most of them have now, and I think it’s a factor that goes back to your motivational interviewing podcast of asking open-ended questions. And one of the key things when talking with parents is to say don’t go on a fishing expedition. 

When you’re talking with your kid, it’s not like, which one of your friends is doing well, blah, blah, when I talked to kids, I say, what percentage of your friend group, what percentage of your peers smokes weed, zero to 10% to 20% to 50%? I always speak in general about your friend or peer group. And you get much more honest responses.

SHERYL:  Oh, yeah. No, that’s why I am glad that you said that. Because then when they say they’re gonna go hang out with Sally, and Sally is doing things you don’t want them to do, you come off judgmental, and it does not work. 

So, yeah, a big problem is weed, and it is the whole vaping. So what would you do? What would you encourage us to do? How do we handle that and talk to our kids?

DR JILL:  Okay, so vaping is so frustrating. These are the kids that we raised, who would literally, when they were five years old, point to somebody and say loudly, that’s disgusting if they saw someone smoking a cigarette. These same kids are now addicted to nicotine because of vaping. 

And first, it was the JUULs, and now it’s the different brightly colored cartridges. Everything is all about what’s going on on social media and what they see. What we need to get back a bit to is that kids know that nicotine and smoking cause cancer, and they also think that vaping is not bad. And that weed is not bad. And so we need to talk about some specifics. 

So, with vaping, if you talk to any older kid who used to vape, they will tell you how hard it was to quit. We know this from generations of smokers. Nicotine is super addictive. And part of why it’s so addictive is that because it’s inhaled, the effect is instant. It’s seconds. 

With drinking, it takes at least minutes up to 10 minutes. But by the way, with edibles, I take a moment. Yeah, we’ll have to come back to that. But, for edibles, it could take up to 90 minutes to feel anything. So, we’ve got a generation that’s used to this instant effect. So that’s how things get overdosed there. 

But anyway, the problem with nicotine is it’s super addictive. And it starts as just looking cool. And a lot of middle schoolers. So our tweens don’t even realize that there’s nicotine in there; they honestly just like it’s vapor. 

They burn sounds like vapor, water, and colored water with flavors; it’s just kind of to look cool. Well, it’s not. And it’s just crazy addictive. And so we have to talk about that and why it’s addictive, it gets you that dopamine hit. But that dopamine hit wears off almost immediately. And then you’ve got to have more. 

So we can talk to them about it like we can with video games. And, it’s that immediate gratification. So we have to go back to talking about that; we have to remind them that nicotine, all the nicotine delivery systems, are associated with cancers. And we’re learning more about vaping. 

But the bottom line is when you’re burning something, that stuff that goes into burning it, it’s bad for you; it is not good to inhale anything into your lungs other than oxygen, period; it’s just going to be bad. So there’s that on weed. 

I guess the big thing I want parents to know is today’s weed is not our pot. Okay, it’s hugely different from the THC, which is the active component that creates the buzz in the brain. That used to be three to 5%. And now, in concentrated products, it is above 90% in dabbing and oils. And these are like super concentrated products in the regular weed. 

Honestly, they’re more vaping it than smoking it. But at any rate, the concentration is between 15 and 30%. So we went from three to 5% to 15 to 30%. 

It used to be considered nonaddictive at the current concentrations. Guess what? It is addictive. It’s not addictive for everybody. But about one in six teens. One in six teens is going to get addicted from the first time they use it. Which means five out of six won’t, which means you can point to all of your friends if you’re a teen and say, Well, they use it just on the weekends. It’s not a big deal. And it may not be a huge deal for them. I don’t know. But you don’t know if you’re that one in six. 

The thing other thing that I want parents and young adults to hear is the connection with schizophrenia, and we do not cause all of schizophrenia; I am not saying that. But if, in your family history, you have a genetic predisposition because you’ve got family or extended relatives with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, you need to know weed is poisoned for you because it can flip a switch on too early in your brain that triggers a psychosis. Psychosis is like extreme paranoia. Hallucinations: often, people think someone’s chasing them; it’s terrifying. 

SHERYL:  I’ve had a few moms I’ve worked with. This has happened with our kids. It’s like flipping a switch.

DR JILL:  We don’t have medicine today, and I hope there’s a different answer. Ten years from now, we don’t have a thing, some a little pill that I can give you and turn that switch off. And these are the panic calls in your mind, my bias, and I 100% have an absolute bias against weed. And it is because I see all the bad outcomes; everything I see is bad, and I put it that way. I don’t see all that bad outcomes. 

But I bet everything I do see is a bad outcome. So, I am biased. And it is terrifying. Illnesses with psychosis are really difficult to manage and live with. And it may be that they were going to develop that disease, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder down the road. 

But even if you saved them ten years from developing, it would be a decade of a better, easier life, especially in the time of life when you’re making lifelong choices. You’re choosing your career, your partner, all of it. These are critical years, and we need to protect more. So, I’ll step off my soapbox.

SHERYL:  Yeah, yeah. No. And what would you say to the parent like that’s in there? That’s what is in their family history. And the unfortunate thing is a lot of kids that are smoking weed. They are the anxious kids. They are the kids. Yeah, yeah, we are struggling in some way. And so they’re wanting to self-medicate? And so what do you do? So what do you do when you talk to him about that?

DR JILL:  Right. And it’s a vicious problem because it’s a cycle. And talk to any college psychiatrist, counselor, or primary care physician. You’re gonna get a very, again, extremely negative bias against weed because, again, nowadays, these higher concentrations, it is addictive, meaning it has withdrawal symptoms, okay? 

Some of the withdrawal symptoms are insomnia and anxiety, which are all the things that people started using it for. And so it creates this. They’re using it to calm down their anxiety to help them relax and go to sleep. But as it wears off from their system, it’s worsening that problem. And so what we see is that it’s spiraling and making things worse

But at the moment, this is key to acknowledging the moment if you are anxious. You use weed, most likely, except for when it doesn’t; it’s going to relax you and calm you down, except when it doesn’t, because once in a while, there’s a paradoxical reaction. 

It makes people just crazy, sped up, and anxious. And it can be the same plant. There are different weed plants. There’s a whole language about all of this, but some are more stimulating than others, but it’s not consistent. We don’t know ahead of time; buying from the same place what you think is the same thing, you’re gonna have a different reaction, and it’s not necessarily because there’s something else in it.  

The other thing, please, know parents, it is illegal everywhere. Getting something at a legal dispensary, I believe, is less risky than not. I tell people in Texas, which is where I am currently, that 100% of our weed in Texas is illegal. So you’re getting it from illegal drug dealers. Those drug dealers don’t look like scary people off in the dark alley. They’re college students. So it looks safe. It feels safe. 

And, you get handed something, but they don’t know what’s in it. If you didn’t grow it, you don’t know what’s in it, and it’s sold by weight. Things are put in there to make it heavier, like ground glass particles; think about inhaling that into your lungs like intelligence. Like, that’s just when our college do we when you talk about it like people are like, Oh, ha, yeah, okay. All right, you’re right. 

And it doesn’t mean they’re gonna stop smoking weed tomorrow, but they, but if we can talk about it in true practical terms of like, look, it’s illegal, it’s sold by the way things get put in it. Also, other substances get put in it because when you have powerful weed, more people want to buy it. 

So illegal drug dealers will put formaldehyde in there. I mean, formaldehyde is used for pickling frogs and other things. So, we don’t want to put poison straight into our bodies and our brains, especially brains younger than 25. 

I mean, there’s absolute, absolute evidence that the earlier you introduce weed, the worse outcomes, the more addictive, you’ve got that developing brain. It causes many more problems; people using it are older than 25, there’s less, no issues, and fewer issues. 

SHERYL:  Gosh, wow. So much. So that’s why they want to get your book. So you have to tell them where to get your books, so they can give it to their kids. It’s great; I’m sure you’ve gotten this feedback. And you can pick different parts out of it. You can just pick what you want to talk about. But I imagine it can be a good tool to talk about some things before they go to either being or even in college.

DR JILL:  Yeah, and stuff like testing anxiety and insomnia. I’m equally passionate about those there; so many kids are even kids that aced high school and just blew through it, especially those kids because they didn’t learn good study techniques because it came too easy for them. 

And then they get to college. And it’s a whole different level. Or maybe they only had essay tests because they were at a smaller private school. And now they have to have multiple-choice tests and a bigger school. And honestly, that’s difficult when you’ve done essays before. 

So, we see all kinds of test anxiety. And there are lots of things you can do for that, both medically in the form of actually a form of medicine, in addition to other behavioral things. 

I think it can be a good tool. I’ve had parents, and many tell me they have slipped Christmas $20 bills into their favorite topics.

SHERYL:  And that’s the best way to do it. Here’s 20. If you were to read this part of the blog, I’d love that. That’s cute. That’s kind of a playful way to do it to get your kid to read it. Because I love and care about you so much. Yeah, that’s cute. 

DR JILL:  There’s the book – find the 20s. 

SHERYL:  And yeah. Best Selling. You have the best seller in your book, right?

DR JILL:  Yeah. I feel very honored that the book has won a ton of awards. And so this was the winner of the Best Book award. But yeah, yeah. And so you can find, I always say support your local bookstores first. Always ask there first. But it’s on Amazon. It’s on sale right now. So, just in time for Christmas. Oh, yeah.

SHERYL:  Yeah. And like you said it. It talks about so many things. It’s not just the drugs and the weed and the vaping. But I thought those were things that scared us so much. And yes.

DR JILL:  You can tell your kids I am the https://www.tiktok.com/@tiktok.collegedoc?lang=en. Regardless of what people think about TikTok, I won’t go to those little reels on TikTok. But the reality is that many of our kids watch that, and I want to talk directly to them. So I put I have, I am the TikTok College Doc. So it’s a great conversation starter, or I have all these tender topics in short, one-minute sound bites.

SHERYL:  I told Dr. Jill I’ve watched them, and they’re really good. So, check that out. So tell them you have told them a little bit. Tell them where to find you. Your website and all of that. 

DR JILL:  So, my website is just my name. It’s Gil Grimes, md.com. I haven’t been super active there, but I occasionally post a blog there. My Instagram is https://www.instagram.com/jillgrimesmd/?hl=en, and what else is there? It’s across everything on Jill Grimes, MD, except for TikTok.

SHERYL:  TikTok college doc. It’s great that you got that. I love it. Thank you. Thank you, Dr. Jill, for coming and talking to us. And we’ll have to have you back because there are so many more things that we can not cover. 

DR JILL:  We can cover the less scary or even the more scary stuff. I guess we didn’t touch on STDs – thanks for inviting me.

SHERYL:  Well, that’s it for today. And thank you for taking the time out with me and listening. I so appreciate you. And if you are enjoying this podcast, you could take a moment and leave a review, sharing what you appreciate about this podcast.

I always want to get the word out to other moms, parents, or caregivers who can use the encouragement, support, insights, and wisdom shared on this show. Thank you so much for joining me today, and have a great week. And I will see you back here next week. Have a good one. Bye.

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