Report Warns of Dangers of Teen Marijuana Use

Doctors argue relaxed marijuana laws shouldn't result in relaxed attitudes toward teen drug use.
Published: March 1, 2017

A prominent group of doctors is attempting to spread the word about the potential dangers of marijuana use in teenagers.

The doctors say recreational and medical marijuana use can be dangerous for the developing brains of children.

The group released a report in the American Academy of Pediatrics recommending that the adverse effects of marijuana be widely publicized so lawmakers and parents understand the risks.

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“Parents will say, ‘I use it moderately and I’m fine with it, so it’s really benign and not a problem if my kid uses it,'” Dr. Seth Ammerman told CBS News. “We would rather not mess around with the developing brain.”

The study outlined several negative effects of marijuana in adolescent brains, which don’t stop developing until a person’s mid-20’s. Consequences include:

  • Impaired short-term memory
  • Decreased concentration, attention span and problem solving
  • Alterations in motor control, coordination, judgment, reaction time and tracking ability
  • Negative health effects on lung function
  • A link between marijuana use and higher rates of psychosis in patients with a predisposition to schizophrenia

Research has also shown that the younger a person starts using drugs including marijuana, the more likely they are to develop drug dependence or addiction, and the less likely they are to complete high school and earn a degree.

The doctors say the legalization of marijuana in several states has led to a more relaxed attitude toward pot by the public.

Parents should avoid using or storing marijuana in front of their children, the doctors say.

According to data collected by the federal government, nearly 40 percent of high school students in the country have tried marijuana. Roughly 20 percent are current users and marijuana use has increased among those aged 18 or older.

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