Medicine

Pediatricians warn about dangers of pot use by kids

Although marijuana has enjoyed a nationwide legalizaiton push, and most people seem to be in favor of allowing the use of the drug, people should keep in mind that there are risks associated with it, the group said in a statement.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is weighing in, issuing new guidelines this week for doctors and parents to talk to teens about the risks of using marijuana.

Parents can tell their children that pot isn't a benign drug, and that it can cause abnormal brain development, impact memory, and slow down ability to concentrate.

The study states a growing number of teens see marijuana as acceptable and safe.

The report doesn't provide any new science though, and instead simply reiterates the Academy's already stated disapproval of recreational marijuana legalization.

The AAP recommends that doctors urge parents not to use pot around their kids.

Marijuana's potency has also risen demonstrably in the past few decades, which could contribute to parents mistakenly believing that the weak grass they used to smoke in high school is the same stuff their teenagers may smoke today. Some of those problems include addiction, depression, dulled sensory awareness, and declines in attention spans and problem-solving skills.

The concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive substance in the marijuana plant, has increased considerably, from approximately 4% in the early 1980s to upward of 12% in 2012,3 increasing the risk of adverse effects and the potential for addiction. And parents who are high might not be able to keep their children safe, she said.

Recent data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows that 77% of US adolescents aged 12 to 17 thought there was "no great risk" associated with smoking marijuana once a month. But some doctors do continue to tout strictly medicinal use. The report was published on February 27 in Pediatrics.



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