Does legalization mean using marijuana is safe?

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Does legalization mean using marijuana is safe?

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It is really confusing right now when we talk about marijuana. I think parents are confused and kids are confused. At a time when more Americans now feel that pot should be legal, what is that saying? Is that saying that marijuana is safe, that the returns are in and it is not like other drugs, we want to legalize it, it is harmless? So I think we have to address that. And people need to know. Parents need to know we have to communicate to our children too that all the research shows that it is not benign, it is not harmless, and it is not harmless especially for kids because their brains are changing. At a time when kids are adolescents, their brains are changing more than they will change at any time in their life except when they are under two, and marijuana has a significant impact on the evolving, developing adolescent brain. If you look at brain scans of kids who have smoked versus kids who haven´t, you see deficits. The parts of the brain that are associated with cognitive thinking, with all kinds of complicated thinking, with memory are different. There is a deficit. They don´t function as well. The brain hemispheres that communicate, they don´t communicate as well. There is even research that shows over time that children who smoke a lot of pot, over time their IQs actually lower. So we have to get away from this idea that while marijuana is natural, it is safe. Therefore, we don´t have to worry about it. Everybody smokes. To acknowledge the fact that it is dangerous for kids. There is also evidence that shows that marijuana in some kids, kids who are susceptible, it can trigger psychosis and it can trigger an earlier onset of some mental illnesses, like schizophrenia. So the idea that marijuana is harmless, benign is just wrong.

Watch David Sheff's video on Does legalization mean using marijuana is safe?...

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David Sheff

Writer

David Sheff is the author of Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy, the follow-up to his New York Times #1 bestseller, Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s AddictionClean is the result of the years Sheff spent investigating the disease of addiction and America’s drug problem, which he sees as the greatest public-health challenge of our time.

Beautiful Boy was based on Sheff’s article, “My Addicted Son,” which appeared in the New York Times Magazine and won an award from the American Psychological Association for “outstanding contribution to the understanding of addiction.”  It was named the nonfiction book of the year by Entertainment Weekly.  

Named to the Time 100, Time Magazine’s list of the World’s Most Influential People, Sheff also won the 2013 College of Problems on Drug Dependence Media Award. Sanjay Gupta, MD, said, "As a clear-eyed chronicler of addiction, David is without peer.”

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