Teens who smoke marijuana are at risk of dangerous brain, health disorders

Whether states should legalize marijuana for recreational and medical use is a hot topic across the country. As the debate continues, more preteens, teens and young adults are beginning to use the substance with the feeling that it is safe. In fact, 36 percent of all seniors in high school and 7 percent of eighth-graders report using the drug in the past month, according to a recent study. Though the public's perception that marijuana is a harmless drug continues to increase, research shows it can have a damaging impact on developing brains and may lead to lifelong addiction.

"Teens are seeing as a safe substance, but its effects on the adolescent brain can be dangerous, especially if there is heavy use. As the stigma of marijuana use decreases, the number of teens using the drug has increased. More U.S. students now smoke marijuana than they do cigarettes," said Garry Sigman, MD, director of the Adolescent Medicine division at Loyola University Health System and professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

Marijuana is an addictive substance and, according to Dr. Sigman, adolescents are 2-4 times more likely to become dependent on the drug within two years after first using it as compared with adult users.

"Marijuana is the most common substance addiction being treated in adolescents in rehabilitation centers across the country. Like all addictive substances, marijuana is used to lessen uncomfortable feelings like anxiety and depression. Because the type of addiction is seen as less 'intense' in comparison with other substances such as cocaine or heroin, many people don't realize that marijuana can cause dependence and has a withdrawal syndrome," Sigman said.

While some adolescents use marijuana only occasionally due to peer pressure at a party or in a social setting, others self-medicate with marijuana to cope with emotions and stress. One of the signs of a substance-use disorder is when drugs are used often to cope with uncomfortable feelings.

Addiction isn't the only hazard for adolescents when it comes to smoking marijuana. Research shows that heavy use can lead to neurotoxicity and alterations in brain development leading to:

  • Impairment in thinking
  • Poor educational outcomes and perhaps a lower IQ
  • Increased likelihood of dropping out of school
  • Symptoms of chronic bronchitis
  • Increased risk of psychotic disorders in those who are predisposed

"Parents should inform themselves about the scientific facts relating to marijuana and the developing brain and be able to discuss the topic calmly and rationally. They need to explain that the dose of the drug in a 'joint' is three to four times higher than in years past. Also, if the parents occasionally used marijuana during their lives, they should now know that there's a risk if used before adulthood," Sigman said.


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Sep 26, 2014
There is absolutely no doubt now that the majority of Americans want to completely legalize marijuana nationwide. Our numbers grow on a daily basis.

The prohibitionist view on marijuana is the viewpoint of a minority of Americans.. It is based upon decades of lies and propaganda put forth largely by The National Institute On Drug Abuse, commonly referred to as NIDA .

"While U.S. officials defend their monopoly, critics say the government is hogging all the pot and giving it mainly to researchers who want to find harms linked to the drug.

U.S. officials say the federal government must be the sole supplier of legal marijuana in order to comply with a 1961 international drug-control treaty. But they admit they've done relatively little to fund pot research projects looking for marijuana's benefits, following their mandate to focus on abuse and addiction.


Sep 26, 2014
"We've been studying marijuana since our inception. Of course, the large majority of that research has been on the deleterious effects, the harmful effects, on cognition, behavior and so forth," said Steven Gust, special assistant to the director at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which was created in 1974."
Read more here: http://www.mcclat...m/201...

Each and every tired old lie NIDA has propagated has been thoroughly proven false by both science and society.

Their tired old rhetoric no longer holds any validity. The majority of Americans have seen through the sham of marijuana prohibition in this day and age. The number of prohibitionists left shrinks on a daily basis.

With their credibility shattered, and their not so hidden agendas visible to a much wiser public, what's left for The National Institute On Drug Abuse to do?

Maybe, just come to terms with the fact that Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that's approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think, and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

Legalize Nationwide!...and Support All Marijuana Legalization Efforts!

Sep 26, 2014
Though the public's perception that marijuana is a harmless drug continues to increase, research shows it can have a damaging impact on developing brains and may lead to lifelong addiction.


This has been known fro many decades, but the "try anything once" crowd, like the guy above me, do it anyway.

Yes, there are medical compounds which can be extracted from Marijuana, fine do that ina clean way. Smoking the stuff makes no sense, because it can introduce carcinogens.

You medical marijuana people are treating cancer and chronic back pain and stuff by smoking it, which is going to give you cancer due to the crap produced by burning trace elements in organic material.

If you had a concentrated form of the beneficial compounds, you could eat it or inject it, and it would be much safer, less addictive, and much more effective as a medical drug.

I recognize some types of diseases are benefiting from Medical Marijuana.

Don't spoil that by using it as an excuse to get high....

Sep 26, 2014
Don't spoil that by using it as an excuse to get high....


So if you are a teenager and smoke a lot of the pot you will turn out like Returnering-Skippy? Maybe that explains him, eh?

Sep 26, 2014
I don't do recreational drugs, gilligan.


Sep 27, 2014
I don't do recreational drugs, gilligan.



So I guess that means you was born that way, eh Cher? That ain't something I'd be bragging on.

Sep 27, 2014
I personally believe that smoking pot should be decriminalized. I personally believe that possession of personal use of any drugs should be decriminalized or at most the only penalty is a fine.

But, I think taking any psychotropic drug, either legal or illegal is something people shouldn't do as it disturbs and harms the functioning of the brain.

Only the mis-informed will ever say smoking anything is good for you.

Sep 27, 2014
Always the presumption that every mind and body works perfectly, and that everything that changes the conditions of that mind or body is bad. Ever think of it that way?

You're not alone. Maybe instead of the National Institute for Drug Abuse, it might be the National Institute for Drug Evaluation?

Sep 28, 2014
"But, I think taking any psychotropic drug, either legal or illegal is something people shouldn't do as it disturbs and harms the functioning of the brain."
-----------------

That is precisely the desire. A little-known secret is that cannabis is the best analgesic for PTSD. Most vets use it. They WANT to change the part of the brain that disturbs their reverie, their sleep, their lives.

It is not helpful for developing brains, however, and has effects on later fertility for men, it seems.

Sep 28, 2014
"I recognize some types of diseases are benefiting from Medical Marijuana. Don't spoil that by using it as an excuse to get high...."
--------------------------------------------
What? We can only take meds if they make us feel worse? Why do you resent the analgesic and relaxing properties of cannabis?

You think most users are just looking for a high? Are you onto wine and beer drinkers, too?

The high from Cannabis comes from your own liver and the substance it secretes to metabolize the THC, not the THC itself. Cannabis has been used to treat lung cancer, being the only treatment shown to slow or stop the growth of lung tumors in rats (WebMD).

I use it and get it delivered to my house. I pay with a credit card, and will deduct the cost from my taxes.

Sorry.

Sep 28, 2014
Sorry, taking Pot for PTSD is just an excuse for Pot use. Using POT for PTSD is at best masking the problem at worse it exasperates other mental issues.

Taking POT (with very few exceptions) is stupid. Making excuses for taking POT is just making excuses for bad choices.

That said, I'm all for allowing people to make bad choices.

Sep 28, 2014
Anybody who calls it "pot" advertises their ignorance.

You have no idea whatever of what you speak, which is an uninformed opinion, perhaps based on some kind of prejudice without experience or education.

Sep 28, 2014
Freethinking, I'm thinking you're not. You obviously know nothing about chronic pain, PTSD or the ravages from big pharm drugs. Do you really believe every drug on the market, approved by the FDA is safe? Think phen-phen, vioxx but to name a few. Do you believe the drugs Robin Williams was taking made him "better"?
As an adult, I would like the freedom of choice. I know from experience the Dr.s are only " practicing" medicine and the wonder drugs of today are but the poisons of tomorrow.

Sep 28, 2014
" . . . which can occur without warning, and may cause death."

- a warning you never see on marijuana.

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