Teen Addiction: Pediatricians Warn Parents On Dangers Of Pot

By alexa ancheta, Parent Herald March 01, 04:00 am

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warned parents against the potential harm that could happen to teenagers when they use drugs. Data released by experts show that around 40 percent of high school students in the United States have tried smoking marijuana.

A warning published in the Pediatrics Journal indicated the doctors' opposition to the use of marijuana among teens, either for medical or recreational purposes. The warning came in view of the legalization of medical and even recreational marijuana among adults.

"Parents will say, 'I use it moderately and I'm fine with it, so it's really benign and not a problem if my kid uses it,'" Stanford University pediatrics professor Dr. Seth Ammerman said.

Studies show that marijuana use can change the brain regions of teens, according to Press Herald. Marijuana use can affect the child's memory and planning ability. Teens who start using marijuana at an early age are also more at risk of becoming addicted to the substance compared to those who started using marijuana later.

Parent Sue Scheff, who works with children living in at-risk communities, wondered about the effects of the legalization of recreational marijuana for young children, as per CNN. She already heard kids saying that using marijuana must be okay because it is legal. She agreed that there is a need to come up with ways to discuss the use of marijuana and its effects considering there is already a messaging problem.

The AAP fear the legalization of marijuana use could lower the risk perception among teens. The pediatricians, however, want to use their position of influence in counteracting teen perception on marijuana use. They also recommend marijuana screening for preteens and adolescents.

Yale University professor Dr. Sheryl Ryan said many of her New Haven patients consider marijuana as their drug of choice, WNEM reported. These teens think it is safe to use marijuana daily since their parents smoked pot before and they turned out fine. Parents should avoid this perception among teens by not using marijuana when their kids are around.

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