Kids and Cannabis

Kids and recreational cannabis don't mix.

Over the past decade, multiple studies have shown that marijuana use in adolescence can be a contributing factor in triggering or worsening the symptoms of serious psychotic mental illnesses, most notably schizophrenia. But studies have also found that young people with a predisposition to developing a psychotic illness may be drawn to pot at an earlier age — possibly as a form of self-medication — than other adolescents. So it goes both ways.

That finding seems similar to what I've also read about childhood (ages 14 – 19) alcohol use. It appears that recreational psychoactive drug use is linked to negative effects on the developing brain. I'd like to see more studies, but it seems to make sense. Think about psychoactive drug use as a rollercoaster ride for your brain. There's nothing wrong with a rollercoaster ride, except you'd never attempt it while the rollercoaster was still under construction.

Medicinal cannabis use in children, as Dr. Sanjay Gupta covered in detail in the first installment of his CNN program, Weeds, is different since their goal isn't to get the kids high. Rather than consuming cannabis high in THC, people who suffer from seizures utilize cannabis with CBD, which has many medicinal benefits. However, CBD, alone, isn't enough. The hundreds of compounds inside cannabis worked together on our endocannabinoid system; known as the entourage effect. But, again, I'd like to see more medical studies.

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