Friday, November 7, 2014

Marijuana....a rite of passage?

For many years there has been controversy over marijuana use and whether it should be legalized.  We are now seeing several states opening up pot shops across the country.   While most states restrict the sale for medicinal reasons, as does Illinois, pot can be easily purchased in most schools and neighborhoods. Medicinal cannabis has been altered to have more or less of certain ingredients such as THC according to the condition being treated.  It has made a radical impact for those living with severe seizure disorders.  

So how does THC impact the brain?  Initially euphoria occurs, stimulating dopamine production.  The user may feel more relaxed, have a higher sense of sensory perception or get the munchies.  As euphoria subsides, users may experience sleepiness, depression, anxiety, paranoia or other psychological conditions.

THC effects on the brain can disrupt a person’s balance, coordination and reaction time.  The medical journal “Addiction” reports in a new study that drivers who have pot in their system have more than twice the risk of being involved in accidents.  

Those who start using cannabis in their formative years have a 1 in 6 chance of becoming dependent and the risk of teens dropping out of school and experiencing cognitive impairments and psychoses in adulthood doubles. New research confirms that the developing brain up to the age of 22 or 23 years will be permanently affected. Many of these changes cannot be reversed causing a lifetime of mental health disorders.

We have long known that marijuana dependency is a catalyst for advancing into more powerful drugs.  But we tend to think of marijuana as a harmless “rite of passage” in the same manner that some parents think of alcohol use. 

Now the critical issue for parents is how to educate our early teens and older kids on the avoidance of marijuana. As it becomes legal in more states, its availability will increase, thus putting our kids more at risk. What message will you give—just try in moderation? Avoidance?  The science is very clear—no use for marijuana in our kids’ developing brains.

We have listed references below for your review.  At PHA we are happy to talk further with you on any issues you might be facing with your teens.

We only get one body to live in.  While we can’t control all the things that affect us physically and mentally, we do have choices over what we allow into our system.    Why take the risk of having problems?

To read more on marijuana:

Photo Courtesy of Paul on

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is important to know where a 24/7 pediatrician is near you. My sister and her husband just moved and they found out that they are expecting their first child. Hopefully they will be able to get recommendations on good pediatricians in their new area. Thanks for sharing, this is a very informative.