Gruber and Sagar (2017) highlight concerns of legalization of marijuana and its potential impact on adolescents. They suggest that with legalization, adolescents may develop beliefs that marijuana use is acceptable or harmless. Gruber and Sagar (2017) indicate that there is increased vulnerability for individuals under 25 using marijuana. More specifically, research has shown the brain is still developing during this time period, with critical executive functioning skills developing into the mid-20s.
Research has demonstrated marijuana use that began in adolescence has been linked to problems with memory and increased marijuana use in the future. Furthermore, those with more frequent and chronic use have been shown to have increased problems with cognition and memory. Other studies have shown marijuana use has been linked to psychosis (Di Forti et al., 2014; Di Forti et al., 2015), as well as damage to the corpus collosum with use of high potency marijuana (Rigucci et al., 2015). Gruber and Sagar (2017) suggest concerns with potency, in that some products may have higher levels of tetrahydrocannabibol (THC) compared to others, as well as when compared to marijuana used decades ago. There is concern that policy has “outpaced science” (Gruber & Sagar, 2017, p. 2), indicating that proper research has not yet been accomplished relative to the legalization and established polices.
As a result, consideration regarding age restrictions, restriction of advertising to youth, and determining guidelines for use is recommended.
Di Forti, M., Sallis, H., Allegri, F., Trotta, A., Ferraro, L., Stilo, S. A.,…Murray, R. M.(2014). Daily use, especially of high-potency cannabis, drives the earlier onset of psychosis in cannabis users. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 40(6), 1509-1517.
Di Forti, M., Macroni, A., Carra, E., Fraietta, S., Trotta, A., Bonomo, M.,…Murray, R. M. (2015). Proportion of patients in south London with first-episode psychosis is attributable to use of high potency cannabis: a case-control study. Retrieved from http://cannabisclinicians.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Psychosis-Skunk-2-15.pdf
Gruber, S. A., & Sagar, K. A. (2017). Marijuana on the mind? The impact of marijuana on cognition, brain structure, and brain function, and related public policy implications. Retrieved from www. Sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170208094219.htm
Rigucci, S., Margues, T. R., Di Forti, M. Taylor, H., Dell’Acqua, F., Mondelli, V.,…Dazzan, P. (2015). High potency cannabis affects corpus collosum (CC) microstructural organization. European Psychiatry, 30, 291.
Dannie Harris, MA
WKPIC Doctoral Intern