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New Study: Pediatricians Warn Against Pot Use for Teens

Feb. 27, 2017 (EIRNS)—The American Academy of Pediatrics is strengthening its warning of the potential harm to today’s teens because of increasingly lax laws and attitudes towards marijuana use, Associated Press reports.

A new report is published today in Pediatrics from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which opposes medical and recreational use of marijuana by kids. This is particularly important because most states have legalized medical use for adults, and many have decriminalized or legalized adults’ recreational use.

Dr. Seth Ammerman, one of the report’s co-authors, says parents should know that the brain continues to develop until the early twenties, raising potential short-and long-term effects of a mind-altering drug. Furthermore, the report says, those who use it at least ten times a month develop changes in brain regions affecting memory and the ability to plan, and that some changes may be permanent.

Frequent use beginning in the teen years may lower IQ scores, the report says. Some studies show that using marijuana at a young age is more likely to lead to addiction than starting to use it in adulthood. Recreational use is illegal for those under age 21, even in states that allow adult use, the report continues, and adults should not use, or store, any marijuana equipment where children can and see or find it.

Government data shows that almost 40% of U.S. high school students have tried marijuana; about 20% are current users, and close to 10 percent first tried it before age 13. Although the study shows that use has increased among those 18 and older rather than younger teens, it is a fact that kids aged 12-17 increasingly think that marijuana use is not harmful.

Dr. Sheryl Ryan, a Yale University Pediatrics professor and lead author of the academy report, says marijuana is the "drug of choice" of many of her teen patients, who think that their parents used pot in college and turned out okay. But, says Dr. Ryan, today’s marijuana is much more potent and potentially more risky.