Pediatricians are warning parents about the harms of teen marijuana use. In a new report released by the American Academy of Pediatrics, doctors oppose the use of medical and recreational marijuana because of the potential for brain damage in teens’ still-developing brains. Dr. Seth Ammerman, a Stanford University pediatrics professor who co-wrote the report says, “we would rather not mess around with the developing brain." Dr. Ammerman also said that because of the trendiness of smoking more parents are inquiring with doctors about marijuana use. "Parents will say, 'I use it moderately and I'm fine with it, so it's really benign and not a problem if my kid uses it.'"
The brain continues to develop until the early 20s, raising concerns about the potential short- and long-term effects of a mind-altering drug. Some studies suggest that teens who use marijuana at least 10 times a month develop changes in brain regions affecting memory and the ability to plan. Some changes may be permanent, the report says.
Frequent use starting in the early teen years may lower IQ scores, and some studies have shown that starting marijuana use at a young age is more likely to lead to addiction than starting in adulthood. Not all teen users develop these problems and some may be more vulnerable because of genetics or other factors.