Informed Families Catalyst

Shattering the Myth of Marijuana’s 'Harmlessness'

Posted by Informed Families on May 15, 2023 at 10:58 PM

These days, it seems marijuana use has become as acceptable as a glass of wine with dinner. In addition, more states have become enamored of the revenue that comes with legalizing and taxing the drug.

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But more doctors and researchers are sounding the alarm about the widespread use of cannabis, especially for younger people.

Expert Pushback

Dr. Leana Wen, for example, a professor at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, wrote last month in an editorial for The Washington Post that the detrimental effects of marijuana are particularly worrisome for young people.

Noting the annual April 20 celebration of marijuana among devoted users, she said, “This is the exact opposite of what our country needs.

“Instead, as science uncovers more and more about the harms of cannabis, we need a sustained education campaign about its dangers,” she added.

She pointed to a large study from New Zealand, which found that frequent use of marijuana during adolescence was linked to an average loss of six IQ points by mid-adulthood.

Risks for Teens

Other studies have found even worse adverse effects. A 2019 study published in the journal The Lancet found that daily cannabis use was associated with increased odds of psychotic disorder compared with those who never used the drug. The risk increased by nearly five times for daily use of the high-potency types of cannabis.

Regular marijuana use has also been associated with a higher likelihood of developing anxiety and depression later in life.

“Smoking early can catalyze anxiety and depression,” Judy Grisel, a professor of psychology at Becknell University and the author of “Never Enough: The Neuroscience and Experience of Addiction,” told The Post earlier this month.

“It’s not exactly clear how that happens, but the evidence for it is very strong,” she said.

Even More Evidence

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Unlike adults, the teen brain is actively developing and often will not be fully developed until the mid-20s. Marijuana use during this period may harm the developing teen brain.”

In addition, a 2021 study linked heavy marijuana use in those between the ages of 10 and 24 years old who also had mood disorders with an increased risk of self-harm, suicide attempts, and death.

For more information on the harms of teen marijuana use, check out the website Johnny’s Ambassadors, ( founded by a woman whose teenage son committed suicide while in the throes of cannabis-induced psychosis.

Topics: marijuana, brain development, drugs, opioids, myths, fentanyl

About Us

We teach people how to say no to drugs and how to make healthy choices. To reduce the demand for drugs, Informed Families has focused its efforts on educating and mobilizing the community, parents and young people in order to change attitudes. In this way we counteract the pressures in society that condone and promote drug and alcohol use and abuse. The organization educates thousands of families annually about how to stay drug and alcohol free through networking and a variety of programs and services .

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