As the debate around the legalization of drugs continues to gain a foothold in public discourse, in our work with cannabis dependent teens we continue on a daily basis to reckon with the difficult outcomes when young lives are taken off the rails by “only” pot.
A longitudinal study of over one thousand people (Madeline Meier et al., published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) found that the participants who became dependent on marijuana before age 18 had lasting mental deficits. Specifically, these kids lost an average of about 8 IQ points. This may not sound like much but can be as significant as scoring in the 50th percentile (an average IQ) or the 29th percentile (well below average).The pattern also held up when the researchers excluded participants with persistent dependence on tobacco, alcohol, and “hard” drugs, and also those with diagnoses of schizophrenia.” See full story at : Weeding through the facts about teens and marijuana
The legalization debate has had a particularly cunning effect on the denial system of young users who see in the issue a flag to securely wrap themselves in, deepening the justification of harmful behaviors to self and others. As parents hear these arguments from their addicted teens, it’s important to remain focused of the negative effects the drug use is causing and not to become blinded by the political discourse.
(image credit: Correlation between Violence and Teen Drug Use)