CONTACT All about marijuana - Dr. Christian Thurstone

All About Marijuana

Far too many parents describe it as “just pot” until they experience firsthand a child addicted to the drug.

Marijuana addiction is the No. 1 reason youth in the United States are admitted for substance-abuse treatment.

It’s important for parents and youth to be well educated about marijuana because of its rise in popularity and the common myth that it is relatively harmless compared to alcohol and tobacco. On the contrary, recent research shows that marijuana is more harmful to brain development than previously thought. In fact, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the active ingredient of marijuana that produces the euphoric high users experience, binds to the very receptor, called the Cannabinoid 1 Receptor, that helps control adolescent brain development. Loss of brain function and intelligence can result — and may be permanent.

It is even tougher for parents and youth to understand the potential dangers of THC because of the various forms the drug takes. It is infused into — and masked by — cookies and brownies, candies, cereals, sodas, lip balms and lotions, and a wide array of other products that appeal to kids.

Marijuana use by age group
Percentage of U.S. youth who have used in the last month

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