The study, published in the journal Addiction, finds regular use of the drug by teens impairs intellectual development and doubles the risk of developing psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia, can lead to other mental disorders, car crashes, unhealthy babies and more problems.
“Marijuana is just not the same benign substance that we knew about in the 60s,” says Kerrie Watt from Coastal Health. “It does have real health impacts and impacts in the lives of young people and their families in particular, and it’s something worth taking a look at.”
“Particularly in adolescents, the memory centres of the brain appear to shrink and that they are impaired in terms of their ability to learn and have good recalls of memories.”
Dr. Wayne Hall, who conducted the study, came to some of the following conclusions:
Regular cannabis users can develop a dependence syndrome, the risks of which are around one in 10 of all cannabis users and one in six among those who start in adolescence.
|Dr Wayne Hall|
Regular adolescent cannabis users have lower educational attainment than non-using peers but we don’t know whether the link is causal.
Driving while cannabis-intoxicated doubles the risk of a car crash; this risk increases substantially if users are also alcohol-intoxicated.
A regular cannabis user refers to someone who gets high at least three times a week.
Professor Wayne Hall, a drugs advisor to the World Health Organization and professor of addiction policy at King's College London, said that heavy, daily use can also lead to dependence and serve as a gateway to other harder drugs.
Among the more startling findings in his study, published in the journal Addiction, are that people who drive after smoking marijuana are twice as likely to be in a car accident, and teens who smoke regularly are twice as likely to have impaired brain function and mental disorders as adults.
"The perception that cannabis is a safe drug is a mistaken reaction to a past history of exaggeration of its health risks," Hall told Live Science .
Other findings of the study: Babies born to mothers who had smoked marijuana may have lower birth weights and smoking marijuana may increase the risk for chronic bronchitis.
Teens and young adults are just as likely to smoke marijuana as they are cigarettes, the study also said.
You've probably read it here before as I campaign to increase awareness of the dangers of pot.
I have seen people go horribly and irreversibly schizophrenic from it. I've seen people lose their memory and you wonder how they can function. Mostly, I have seen a complete cessation in mental and emotional growth. Most regular users change very little from when they started.