Young people are smoking more pot than ever – and why that's a bad thing [CNA]

#1, Colo., Dec 28, 2015 / 12:02 pm (CNA).- When Amendment 64 legalized the sale of recreational marijuana to anyone over the age of 21 in Colorado, Dr. Christopher Thurstone’s work became even more complex.

A child psychiatrist and medical director of one of Colorado’s largest youth substance abuse treatment clinics, he has seen first hand marijuana’s detrimental effect on young people.

And in the past two, post-legalization years, he’s noticed some concerning spikes: in number of patients, in levels of marijuana in their systems, and in marijuana addiction among his young patients.

“It’s made things much more difficult,” Dr. Thurstone told CNA. “Treatment is much more difficult than it used to be, just because the attitudes are more relaxed about marijuana use, and it’s so much more prevalent and easy to get.”

Currently, recreational marijuana is only available for purchase in three other states – Washington, Alaska and Oregon – and in Washington, D.C. But with the 2016 elections on the horizon, both medical and recreational marijuana bills will be showing up on ballots in states across the country, most of whom are looking to places like Colorado to determine best practices.

While the legalization of marijuana brings with it some economic benefits, many professionals who work with young people are concerned the increasing acceptance of marijuana and the minimizing of the risks and negative side effects of the drug.

The shifting perceptions of pot

As the social acceptance of marijuana increases, the laws change to reflect those attitudes, and vice versa. The legalization of marijuana is both a reflection of and a catalyst for more accepting attitudes toward marijuana.

As the perceived harmfulness of marijuana falls among teens, use goes up – or, at the very least, remains stable. A recent survey from the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that for the first time ever, daily marijuana use has surpassed daily cigarette use among high school seniors.

In an interview with The Atlantic, the NIDA director Nora Volkow said that on the one hand, the findings prove the success of anti-tobacco campaigns that target adolescents.

On the other hand, the growing acceptance of pot among adolescents is concerning, especially given its impact on the developing brain, she said.

We’re seeing teenagers who are telling me, ‘Why would I stop using marijuana? I don’t believe it’s addictive, I don’t believe it has any bad effects, in fact it’s my medicine for my anger, depression, anxiety or ADHD.’

Dr. Thurstone has also found that teens today are more accepting of pot – a shift that began with the legalization of medical marijuana and was further solidified by the green light on recreational marijuana.

“Pre-legalization about 54 percent of 12-17 year-olds in Colorado reported great harm with regular marijuana use, and now post-legalization that’s dropped to about 34 percent,” he said.

“We’re clearly seeing a significant decrease in the perceived harmfulness of marijuana, especially among young people.”

Full article…


I would imagine so.


Personally, I would actually be interested in trying out marijuana to help with my anxiety issues if it should ever become legal and easily accessible. It’s probably far healthier than those pills (Xanax, Klonopin, Zoloft) that psychiatrists hand out.


2291 The use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life. Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offense. Clandestine production of and trafficking in drugs are scandalous practices. They constitute direct co-operation in evil, since they encourage people to practices gravely contrary to the moral law.

Shocking, especially to people who have already damaged their brains from drug use.


There are so many benefits to marijuana that this could potentially be factually disproven.

What drugs is it talking about any way? Advil is a drug. So is Xanax. So is Tobacco. Ambien. Oxycontin, etc.

Marijuana should not be lumped in a category with meth and heroin.


I believe the surrounding paragraphs qualify the term “drug,” a bit more. Keep in mind that how the Church uses a word may have deeper roots than the modern understanding of the word. (“Pray” is a perfect example of this phenomenon.)

While it’s true that there are legitimate medical uses for marijuana, recreational use of the drug is still considered a grave moral offense due to the fact that the purpose it to alter the mind such that it no longer operates properly. It is a mind-altering substance which is capable of causing damage, just not as quickly as certain other drugs. It’s it’s for medical purposes, then it may be okay; but if it’s just “to get high,” then is cannot be condoned.


That depends on the degree of “high” one is trying for. If it is just a mild relaxing agent, that would be comparable to mild alcohol consumption, which also alters the mind slightly. Both alcohol and pot do some damage, even when used in moderation. The question is how much damage. If it is shown that pot used in moderation produces substantially more damage than alcohol used in moderation, then a strong case can be made against pot. As a practical matter, I think this is actually the case, but it is still open for debate.


Acknowledging in advance that this is anecdotal, at a time in my life I had occasion to review many, many, many medical records of people who were injured at work. A surprisingly large number of them failed the MJ test after the injury, and a lot of the injuries were just astoundingly stupid things; things like powering down, then taking off the guard to repair or service a machine, then powering up without replacing the guard. Things like that.

There is not the least doubt in my mind that it degrades mental functioning and can lead to injury.


It’s my understanding that the pot available now “isn’t your grandfather’s pot”; that it’s massively more powerful than what people smoked decades ago.


Often marijuana use leads to using other drugs, too.


While there are many myths regarding marijuana, including that it is a gateway to harder drugs and it is linked to cancer, there is little doubt it does damage to cognitive functioning. I think the penalties for MJ possession should be reduced but, on the other hand, I personally do not support drug use in any form except for medicinal purposes. After all these decades, however, I think the drug war has been virtually lost. Maybe William F. Buckley, who advocated legalization of all drugs, was right, although I am still opposed to it.


Absolutely. Now prove it with scientifically rigorous double blind studies with controlled dosages, and side effect studies and warnings, just like any other drug needs before it is accepted for public sale. Let its potential benefits and risks determine whether it is therapeutic or not. No such studies exist.

If it is mainly an hallucinogen, its use is immoral unless it has therapeutic value, there are no better alternatives, and the hallucinogenic effect is not willed by the user. Recreational use of hallucinogens is clearly grave matter and potentially mortal sin as understood by the Catholic Church.


Correlation, not causation. IOW, those people who experiment with marijuana may also experiment with other drugs; however, simply using MJ does not cause people to use other drugs.


Correlation, not causation. IOW, those people who experiment with marijuana may also experiment with other drugs; however, simply using MJ does not cause people to use other drugs.


I would also add that for young people, in particular, MJ use is not a good idea since the cognitive functioning of their brains is still developing.


I don’t see why you are being so strict on marijuana, when current drugs that are actually legal have bad effects as well. Do you think the pills psychiatrists hand out should be illegalized and sinful to obtain and use? If I’m in the midst of an anxiety attack and marijuana could help relieve the symptoms a bit, I’d be willing to test it out to see how well it works. If that angers you, oh well.

I lump marijuana in the same category as tobacco and alcohol. Going overboard could become sinful, but I disagree that it’s sinful altogether.


I think both tobacco and alcohol would fail these “therapeutic” tests by a much wider margin than pot would. Ultimately, adults should have the right to determine what they put in their own bodies, unless a very serious overriding interest exists. I just don’t see any compelling reason to override personal autonomy when it comes alcohol, tobacco, beef, high fructose corn syrup, or pot - though strong arguments can be made against them.


He is not being particularly hard on marijuana. Rather it appears that he wants the same testing, studies, controlled dosages, and warnings that are on other drugs and even the recreational drugs you mention. If marijuana has therapeutic benefits, then it should go through the same testing and FDA approval process as other medications (and I believe it should remain a prescription drug). If it is sold over the counter then it needs similar surgeon general warnings (and controlled dosages and FDA approval) as alcohol and tobacco. :shrug:


Marijuana abusers show lower positive and higher negative emotionality scores than controls, which is consistent, on one hand, with lower reward sensitivity and motivation and, on the other hand, with increased stress reactivity and irritability.

If anything, overtime it will simply have the inverse effect on your your stress.

Also, I know a number of people who have anxiety issues, and the ones that do marijuana have even more anxiety than they used to. I’m not going to bore you with details, but I will ask you to research the topic yourself.

You are 100% correct. I’ll help you out and link to an article for you.

This article here discusses what researches found out about the use of Marijuana and young people.

Cannabis Smoking 'Permanently Lowers IQ’


If that’s what he was actually getting at, then I don’t disagree. However, you articulated it in a FAR better way than he did. That guy was overly aggressive and confrontational from my perspective.

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