Pediatricians Warn Against Pot Use for Teens

It's now more concentrated, increasing the risk, the academy says, of overdose and addiction.

Twenty nine states allow medical or recreational use of marijuana for adults over 21, and doctors are anxious many parents who use the drug may think it's OK for kids.

Many states have recently made significant changes to their legislation making recreational and/or medical marijuana use by adults legal. But, says Dr. Ryan, today's marijuana is much more potent and potentially more risky. 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. Moreover, some parents smoke marijuana too.

That's a problem, they reason, because new methods of studying the brain have yielded data to support the theory that using marijuana at a young age might permanently affect brain maturation - meaning marijuana might not be as benign a substance for growing teens to mess with as some adults have come to believe it is.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, in a new report, says the use of pot is not good for teenage brain development, which continues into the mid-20's. The report was published on February 27 in Pediatrics.

My kids are in elementary school, a little young for the "weed talk", but I wonder whether the fact that recreational pot use is now legal in a number of states will complicate things once we start having those conversations.

In a newly released statement, AAP said, "So if you use marijuana in front of your teens, they are more likely to use it themselves, regardless of whether you tell them not to". Furthermore, the report says, those who use it at least 10 times a month develop changes in brain regions affecting memory and the ability to plan, and that some changes may be permanent.

  • Aubrey Nash