In recent years there has been a strong push by some activists to legalize the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana in more areas around the country. To some, the drug is perceived as harmless, posing no risk of addiction like "harder" substances like cocaine and heroin. As a result, a large number of teens have used the drug assuming that it was safe. A new study counters that assertion, suggesting that the nature of the teenage brain makes users of marijuana amongst this age group particularly at risk of developing addictive behaviors.
Researchers from the University of Montreal and New York's Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai came to their conclusions by reviewing over 120 studies that looked at different aspects of the relationship between cannabis and the adolescent brain, in addition to studies about marijuana's role as a "gateway" drug to other substances.
"While it is clear that more systematic scientific studies are needed to understand the long-term impact of adolescent cannabis exposure on brain and behavior," said Dr. Didier Jutras-Aswad, lead author of the study, in a press release. "The current evidence suggests that it has a far-reaching influence on adult addictive behaviors particularly for certain subsets of vulnerable individuals."
The research team also criticized state and local governments for enacting marijuana policies without consideration of scientific evidence or of their impact on "one of the most vulnerable populations, namely teens."
The battle against drug addiction begins in the home. If you suspect that your teen is battling an addiction, now is the time to intervene. Contact Intervention Services today to learn how our youth intervention services can help your child.