Marijuana Harmful to Children’s Developing Brains

As we debate and differ upon the benefits and risks of decriminalization, legalization, and medicinal uses of marijuana, every one of us will agree (or state that they do) that marijuana ought to remain illegal for children. But, we shouldn’t deceive ourselves; as with tobacco and alcohol, young people almost will absolutely have easy access to marijuana with the commercialization of marijuana and liberalization of our laws.

What we’re missing in completely comprehending the ramifications of the new legislation that may have broad effects upon our culture and country, is firsthand know-how of how cannabis affects the brain, especially the younger brain. Without more proof, we’re gambling with the safety and health of our young people based upon wishful thinking and speculation. Furthermore, our national wager is going to increase as more states legalize cannabis.

The ability for drug-induced alterations within the brain is highly enhanced during adolescence and childhood, as the brain is developing. The National Survey on Drug Use & Health, in recent years, has reported annually that kids who initiated marijuana or alcohol at age 14 or under state a fivefold greater prevalence of a substance use problem later in life. Those results imply that drugs will affect the trajectory of the developing brain in adolescents. What we do not know is how it differs from what might’ve been the drug-unexposed trajectory, as well as what the end result is.

Missing includes the scientific proof to allow us to appreciate the unique impact of cannabis upon the developing brain. Legalization proponents argue that marijuana isn’t ‘any worse’ than tobacco and alcohol as far as their potential for clinically dangerous effects.

As this might be a fact (to some extent), most of the potential deleterious effects, as well as long-range brain pathologies from drug use in adolescents are seen within mental health in which pot use may cause persisting and serious psychotic and anxiety disorders. Plus, nobody is discussing the potential effects of adolescent pot use upon more subtle brain effects, which include motivation, academic achievement, and information processing.