Anti-Marijuana Ad’s Dubious Claim a Scary Hit With Parents

An ominous 30-second ad now on YouTube and TV warns that smoking too many joints can seriously harm a teen’s developing brain, with the words “Decreased IQ” crossing the screen.

The spot was chosen after that message got the strongest reaction from focus groups of parents who were privately shown a similar ad and several alternatives in cities across Canada in June.

The parents, described by the interviewers as “generally uninformed regarding marijuana health risks,” reacted with alarm when told marijuana can trigger psychosis, schizophrenia and a drop in IQ in young, still-developing brains.

The information on the harmful effects of cannabis on mental functioning was “surprising and scary” to them, says a newly released report by Harris Decima, commissioned by Health Canada at a cost of $95,000.

A previous TV ad making the claim about reduced mental ability “was seen as the most hard-hitting” of the five ads shown to parents, Harris Decima said in its June 27 report to Health Canada. None of the five spots was Health Canada productions, but were shown to the groups to assess the impact of each type of message so the department could craft a new one.

“These were all ads chosen to see what kinds of ads the focus group would respond to,” said Sean Upton of Health Canada.

– Read the entire article at CBC News.