Marijuana's effect on the developing brain

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Marijuana's effect on the developing brain

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All kids want to experiment with substances in changing their states and all kids want to belong. These are normal human vulnerabilities we all have. However, what most kids and parents don’t seem to know is the use of marijuana in a developing brain is quite risky and increases the chances of a person developing a psychotic illness like Schizophrenia. It’s very important to share with people that the earlier you are when you use marijuana and the more often you use marijuana, you are basically taking a chance. We come to understand that there are certain people who metabolize Dopamine, which is an important neurochemical in the brain, what we can’t do is test for it. In 10 teenagers that are sitting around and smoking pot, one of them might have the vulnerability in this area, and there is no way to know it or to predict it at this point in time. So, what I tell kids is delay if you can, learn from your mistakes, figure how to get along and be part of a pure group without taking a chance with such an important part of yourself.

Watch Kenneth Duckworth, MD's video on Marijuana's effect on the developing brain...

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Kenneth Duckworth, MD

Psychiatrist, Harvard Professor & Medical Director for NAMI

Ken Duckworth, MD, serves as the medical director for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. He is triple board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Adult, Child and Adolescent, and Forensic Psychiatry and has extensive experience in the public health arena.

Dr. Duckworth is currently an Assistant Clinical Professor at Harvard University Medical School, and has served as a board member of the American Association of Community Psychiatrists. Dr. Duckworth has held clinical and leadership positions in community mental health, school psychiatry and now also works as Associate Medical Director for Behavioral Health at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

Prior to joining NAMI in 2003, Dr. Duckworth served as Acting Commissioner of Mental Health and the Medical Director for Department of Mental Health of Massachusetts, as a psychiatrist on a Program of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) team, and Medical Director of the Massachusetts Mental Health Center.

Dr. Duckworth attended the University of Michigan where he graduated with honors and Temple University School of Medicine where he was named to the medical honor society, AOA. While at Temple, he won awards for his work in psychiatry and neurology. He also has a family member living with mental illness.

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