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Marijuana and the teenage mind

The evidence that marijuana harms the developing brain is overwhelming. Youth marijuana use is highly correlated with school failure and underachievement--up to a 60% higher dropout rate for daily users [Click here for study]. A recent study shows that quitting for even a short period can get an underperforming adolescent back to normal [Click here for study]. That's good news. The bad news is that more and more children are smoking marijuana, and are believing the untruth that it is harmless to them. Additionally, the evidence is strong that legalization contributes to this distorted view, and that means more teens using marijuana and endangering their future. The American Association of Pediatrics is certainly not a conservative organization, but the hard evidence against adolescent marijuana use is so strong, even for medical purposes, that they have issued the following statement:

From the American Association of Pediatrics Position Statement:

“We know marijuana can be very harmful to adolescent health and development,” said Seth D. Ammerman, MD, FAAP, a member of the AAP Committee on Substance Abuse and an author of the policy statement. “Making it more available to adults – even if restrictions are in place – will increase the access for teens. Just the campaigns to legalize marijuana can have the effect of persuading adolescents that marijuana is not dangerous, which can have a devastating impact on their lifelong health and development.

" For adolescents, marijuana can impair memory and concentration, interfering with learning, and is linked to lower odds of completing high school or obtaining a college degree. It can alter motor control, coordination and judgment, which may contribute to unintentional deaths and injuries. Regular use is also linked to psychological problems, poorer lung health, and a higher likelihood of drug dependence in adulthood.

"The AAP opposes medical marijuana outside of the usual process by the Food and Drug Administration to approve pharmaceutical products. Only limited research has been conducted on medical marijuana for adults, and there have been no published studies of cannabinoids -- either in the form of marijuana or other preparations -- that involve children." [link to position statement--click here]

Note: It is a myth that "medical marijuana" is an established treatment for disease. As the article points out, "limited research has been conducted on medical marijuana for adults, and [none] that involve children." The evidence for "medical marijuana" presented in popular culture is not based on science. Many children believe it's "natural" because it's a plant. Heroin comes from a plant. Cocaine comes from a plant.

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