Since early November when voters in the states of Washington and Colorado decided to decriminalize recreational use of marijuana parents across the nation have been placed in the difficult position of arguing against legal policy when talking to their children about drug use. The fact that the Federal government has spoken out about its decision to not enforce national policy against marijuana use doesn’t make parents’ roles any easier.
A nationally syndicated news outlet recently published a blog which discussed the problems faced by parents who want to warn their young children and teens about the potential dangers of marijuana use. The piece quoted the chief attending physician for adolescents at a major hospital who said that marijuana is far from risk-free when it comes to young people. The illogic of considering any form of smoking as risk free is the first of several concerns parents should share with their children, according to the doctor.
In fact, though proponents argue against marijuana as an addictive substance, this physician said that marijuana addiction was the number one reason behind teen admissions for substance abuse treatment at her clinic. Those who favor marijuana use protest against its potential for addiction, but the records at treatment centers tell a different story. Of course, parents will have a hard time convincing kids of this fact since state and federal policies have not deemed it worthwhile to maintain laws against marijuana.
Perhaps most dangerous of all is the fact that human brains continue developing well into a person’s 20s. Introducing mind-altering substances like marijuana during a period of intense brain development just doesn’t make sense from a medical viewpoint. And while new state laws do not permit those less than 21 years from indulging, the glut of marijuana that will now be readily available in those states will undoubtedly make its way into younger hands.