Pediatricians Say Don’t Lock Up Teenagers For Using Marijuana

Convincing kids that they should stay away from weed can get tricky, the pediatricians acknowledge, especially as support for legalization grows. Part of the issue is that campaigns to legalize marijuana often portray it as a benign substance, says Dr. Leslie Walker, chief of the adolescent medicine division at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

“People make arguments that say, ‘Oh, this is safer than alcohol, it’s safer than tobacco, it’s safer than heroin,’ ” Walker says. And all that may be true, she says. “But marijuana on its own is harmful for adolescents.”

Preliminary research suggests that marijuana isn’t good for teens’ developing brains. And studies show that adolescents who use pot are more likely than adults to become addicted.

Of course, there is still a lot we don’t know about marijuana, whether it’s used recreationally or medicinally. The AAP policy paper recommends that the Drug Enforcement Agency remove marijuana from the Schedule 1 listing for controlled substances, so that it’s easier for researchers to get hold of the substance and study it.

– Read the entire article at NPR.