Young Brains on Marijuana: Risky Business
Okay, okay, we all know: Road safety folks worry about
Says Dr. Scott Krakower, assistant unit chief of psychiatry at the Zucker-Hillside Hospital, “In addition to cardiovascular disorders, the plant has been linked to addiction, lung cancers, and neuro-cognitive problems, and these concerns got pushed aside as the pain-control issue was pushed to the front.”
He also said this: “Adolescent
Nevertheless, if memory serves me, last year, Obama suggested that
In the meantime, according to a July Gallup poll, 44% of Americans have tried
Not too shabby, but back to the business at hand.
In Pennsylvania, legalizing
And, although some 85% of residents favor its medical use, Baker says, “We need to leave it up to the FDA. As long as it’s an illegal drug, which it is at the federal level, we have no business of legislating what medicine is in Pennsylvania.” Moreover, as far as he’s concerned, there’s no difference between
Just possibly then, at least when it comes to kids’ usage, he might be right to be cautious. That’s reportedly because, medical or otherwise, there’s a definite downside. Indeed, says Dr. Sharon Levy of Boston’s Children’s Hospital: “Smoking
And did you know that pot sold on the street is reportedly more than twice as strong as it was 15 years ago? Plus, legalizing it makes it more readily available to young people, and dangers lurk. Gary A. Emmett, M.D. explains that the drug affects the brain’s pleasure centers and causes “relaxation followed by excitation.” However, since the relaxation phase lasts so long, when the excitement stage finally sets in, most teens evidently don’t associate it with the
Plus, when it comes to the young, Dr. Emmett adds that:
marijuanausers have less white matter in their brains, and the total size of the brain is smaller. White matter affects how the brain learns and functions.
- There are less connections of one brain cell to another resulting in slowing thinking.
Early use is strongly associated with schizophrenia and other psychic and anxiety disorders. It is very difficult to prove that
marijuanacauses the disorder or just used as a self-treatment.
- Heavy and/or prolonged use leads to lower IQ’s and serious memory disorders.”
No wonder, then, that even pot supporters suggest putting on the brakes when it comes to the under-21 set. Yes, a Partnership at Drugfree.org (formerly Partnership for a Drug-Free America) survey of 1,200 parents with kids ages 10 to 19 found that:
35% favored legalizing
marijuanafor recreational use
- 46% said it should be decriminalized
- 70% supported legalizing it for medical purposes
At the same time, though, while about 50% of these same parents admitted to having used pot…
About 90% of the moms and 94% of the dads say the legal age for
marijuanause should be 21;
- About 90% of the moms and 91% of the dads say it should be illegal to provide it to underage users at home;
- About 95% of the moms and 96% of the dads say it should be prohibited in public places, just like bans on smoking;
- About 88% of the moms and 90% of the dads think advertising it should be banned;
- About 90% of the moms and 85% of the dads agree that it can do significant harm to teens’ still-developing brains.
So, what’s your bottom line?