Following are excerpts from Washington Post reporter Jennifer Oldham’s honest, and unsettling article about the effects of recreational (as opposed to medical) marijuana in the several states where has been legalized – especially on children:
The first two states to legalize recreational marijuana are starting to grapple with teenagers’ growing use of highly potent pot, even as both boost the industry and reap huge tax windfalls from its sales.
Though the legal purchase age is 21 in Colorado and Washington, parents, educators and physicians say youths are easily getting hold of edibles infused with tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive component that causes a high, and concentrates such as “shatter,” a brittle, honey-colored substance that is heated and then inhaled through a special device.
“Horrible things are happening to kids,” said psychiatrist Libby Stuyt, who treats teens in southwestern Colorado and has studied the health impacts of high-potency marijuana. “I see increased problems with psychosis, with addiction, with suicide, with depression and anxiety.”
As more than a dozen states from Hawaii to New Hampshire consider legalizing marijuana, doctors warn of an urgent need for better education — not just of teens but of parents and lawmakers — about how the products being marketed can significantly affect young people’s brain development.
The limited scientific research to date shows that earlier and more frequent use of high-THC cannabis puts adolescents at greater jeopardy of substance use disorders, mental health issues and poor school performance.
Are you surprised?
Did you doubt for even one second that marijuana legalization would make it eminently easy for kids to get hold of it – far more so than in states where it is not legal?
Did you doubt that, if given such access, they would get and use it?
Were you unaware of what such usage can do to children’s development?
There is a 2+2=4 component to all this, isn’t there?
But…but….look at all the money these states are raking in. Isn’t it GREAT?
Uh….no, it isn’t.
Personally, I fully support the use of marijuana for medical reasons. And I waver back and forth on whether recreational marijuana should be legalized (if, for no other reason, that it decimates the illegal trade in it).
But without serious, and seriously enforced, restrictions on how it is used, accompanied by serious punishment for its abuse – especially anyone who sells it to kids and any parents who think it’s a fun idea to give it to their children…maybe their children’s friends as well? It is a disaster.
OK, Colorado and Washington; what are you going to do about it? We’ll wait.