The Impact of Marijuana Use on Teenagers Below the Age of Fifteen

Fagjun | Published 2017-03-29 02:52

15 years old or younger? It might be best to hold off on trying marijuana for a few years at least.

Researchers have found that the impact of marijuana use on younger teenagers includes cognitive impairment and increased risk for certain diseases. The younger that people start using marijuana, the worse the effects may be as they grow older.

As more and more places legalize marijuana, there have been more studies on how states and countries can navigate legalization. The business sector is also interested in figuring out how to profit off of this somewhat controversial product.

One of the more controversial topics about marijuana itself is the age of marijuana users. As of now, possible legalization looms large in Canada. The Canadian Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation recommends restricting the legal use of marijuana to people aged 18 and older.

The task force may be on to something. A new report has found that younger users report health problems stemming from using marijuana. Thus, the impact of marijuana use on young teenagers may warrant age restrictions once legalization is in effect.

Younger Users Face More Risks

The authors of the report perused other studies about the effects of marijuana use on the health of users. These studies relied on self-reported health impacts. While these studies focused more on the negative effects of marijuana use, this new report is the first to focus on age.

According to the report, the use of marijuana may negatively impact mental and physical health. There is a higher likelihood of developing mental illnesses, cognitive impairment, and memory problems. Marijuana use can also cause the deterioration of IQ and a lower quality of academic performance.

The report also found that the early use of marijuana can increase the risk of developing respiratory diseases as well as some forms of cancer. If a person begins using marijuana before the age of 15, the risks and impact of marijuana use are worse. The researchers also note that if the first use of marijuana occurs after the age of 21, it's more unlikely to turn into a habit.

Minimizing the Impact of Marijuana Use

Of course, these findings do not say that these scenarios will definitely happen. However, there is a higher risk of developing these health conditions. To be fair, many other substances, legal or not, can also increase risks of developing certain diseases. However, it's definitely beneficial to know what these risks are so people can make informed decisions.

In fact, in spite of these risks, the researchers are in favor of legalization. James McIntosh, one of the researchers, recognizes that legalization can remove the criminal aspect of distributing the product. It can also make sure that only quality product will be legally for sale.

Still, though, McIntosh warns that legalization shouldn't make marijuana available to younger teenagers. Legalization should also make sure that the distribution of marijuana excludes people under the age of 18. McIntosh recommends that there should be programs that educate teens on the effects of legal marijuana use. This way, the impact of marijuana use can be at minimal levels.

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