Science Daily reports that an article published on June 5 in the New England Journal of Medicine and authored by scientists from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “describes the science establishing that marijuana can be addictive and that this risk for addiction increases for daily or young users. It also offers insights into research on the gateway theory indicating that marijuana use, similar to nicotine and alcohol use, may be associated with an increased vulnerability to other drugs.”
According to the Science Daily report, Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse thinks physicians have a special role to play in conveying to families that marijuana use is far riskier than they may believe, especially for adolescents with developing brains. However, it stands to reason that there is also a very special role for mental health professionals who regularly speak with teens and their families as well. (The Science Daily report indicates that. “The NIDA-supported 2013 Monitoring the Future Survey says that 6.5 percent of 12th graders report daily or near-daily marijuana use, with 60 percent not perceiving that regular marijuana use can be harmful.”)
NIDA’s current review of the scientific literature, released on June 5 in the New England Journal of Medicine, observes that older research is based on use of marijuana with lower THC levels as opposed to the product that is available today, and therefore likely underestimates the adverse health consequences of regular use as well as addictive potential.
This report has a special focus on risks for adolescents. It “suggests that marijuana impairs critical thinking and memory functions during use and that these deficits persist for days after using. In addition, a long-term study showed that regular marijuana use in the early teen years lowers IQ into adulthood, even if users stopped smoking marijuana as adults.”
The review also indicates that marijuana impairs driving and increases the risks of automobile accidents, especially when combined with alcohol.
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Categories: addiction, addiction and adolescents, addiction and recovery, adolescent recovery from addiction, adolescent substance abuse, cannabis and mental health, preventing teen substance abuse, substance abuse, substance abuse and recovery, talking to teens about substance abuse, teen substance abuse