The toxic effects of marijuana

Marijuana seems to be viewed by many as an innocent drug. However, several long-term studies describing the harmful effects on young people and on the pregnant population have appeared in the European and North American medical literature over the past few years; health care workers in Red Deer (including myself) can attest to the devastating effects seen in infants, children and adolescents.

Marijuana seems to be viewed by many as an innocent drug. However, several long-term studies describing the harmful effects on young people and on the pregnant population have appeared in the European and North American medical literature over the past few years; health care workers in Red Deer (including myself) can attest to the devastating effects seen in infants, children and adolescents.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse in the U.S. updated their information on marijuana in September 2015. Here are a few published findings:

• Teens who started smoking marijuana as a young age and had a continued cannabis disorder lost an average of eight IQ points between the ages of 13 and 38. The teenage brain is particularly vulnerable to marijuana which may reduce the thinking, memory and learning functions which may be permanent.

• Marijuana use during pregnancy is linked to brain problems in babies. Developing parts of the fetus’s brain may be affected and may result in challenges in attention, memory and problem-solving in the child.

• Modest amounts of marijuana’s chemical, tetrahydrocannabinol, are probably excreted into breast milk of nursing mothers.

• Marijuana use has been linked to depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts among teens.

• Marijuana can be addictive: research suggests 9 per cent up to 50 per cent become addicted.

In short, our young people and pregnant ladies should stay far away from this substance and our community should educate and encourage them.

Dr. Josias Groble,

Pediatrician

Red Deer

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