Nation's pediatricians warn of rising risks to youths from loosening marijuana laws

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.

"Marijuana is not a benign drug for teenagers because it affects their developing mind". The AAP pointed to a National Survey on Drug Use and Health that found there had been a tremendous decrease in 12 to 17 year olds who believe that there was a "great risk" to using marijuana.

With about 20 percent of high school students using marijuana, experts said it's critical for parents and pediatricians to discuss the dangers with kids.

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Recent data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows that 77% of USA adolescents aged 12 to 17 thought there was "no great risk" associated with smoking marijuana once a month. So far seven states have legalized recreational marijuana and 28 have approved it for some degree of medicinal use.

The report appears in the February 27 online issue of the journal Pediatrics.

According to the report, increasing legality of marijuana across the country for medical and recreational use has created "an environment in which marijuana increasingly is seen as acceptable, safe, and therapeutic". They need to know what risks smoking marijuana could imply for their children. Ammerman, who is a pediatrics professor at Stanford University and who also co-wrote the new study, stated that parents began wondering whether they should or should not allow their kids to smoke pot. The report shares a list of adverse effects and points out that data only supports prescribing it to children in extremely limited circumstances-for decreasing seizures in specific epilepsy conditions, such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. The brain continues to develop through a person's early 20s.

  • Myrtle Hill