Daily Archives: August 19, 2014

Pot may be legal for adults but it’s still dangerous for adolescents

Anyone who’s read my book A Lethal Inheritance knows I’ve consistently and strongly warned against teenagers smoking pot, because their brains have not finished growing, and research clearly shows negative effects when they smoke before 21 or 18. Especially if the young person is vulnerable to mental disorders due to heredity. Today’s NY Times has an excellent article by Tara Parker-Pope on the impact (or potential impact) of marijuana legalization on teen pot use. Please note, neither I nor the article are talking about adult use. This is strictly a maturing brain matter….

Highlights…from Parker-Pope’s article…

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The brain is still wiring itself during adolescence, and marijuana — or any drug use — during this period essentially trains the reward system to embrace a mind-altering chemical.

Studies in New Zealand and Canada have found that marijuana use in the teenage years can result in lost I.Q. points. Mr. Pasierb says the current generation of young people are high achievers and are interested in the scientific evidence about how substance use can affect intelligence.

“You have to focus on brain maturation,” he said. “This generation of kids wants good brains; they want to get into better schools. Talk to a junior or senior about whether marijuana use shaves a couple points off their SATs, and they will listen to you.”

Because early exposure to marijuana can change the trajectory of brain development, even a few years of delaying use in the teen years is better. Research shows that young adults who smoked pot regularly before the age of 16 performed significantly worse on cognitive function tests than those who started smoking in their later teenage years.

Drug educators say that one benefit of the legalization talk is that it may lead to more research on the health effects of marijuana on young people and more funding for antidrug campaigns.

If you want to read the entire article go here: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/author/tara-parker-pope/