Pediatricians warn about dangers of kids using marijuana

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The concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive substance in the marijuana plant, has increased considerably, from approximately 4% in the early 1980s to upward of 12% in 2012,3 increasing the risk of adverse effects and the potential for addiction. So far seven states have legalized recreational marijuana and 28 have approved it for some degree of medicinal use.

Doctor raise awareness regarding marijuana use among teenagers. But, says Dr. Ryan, today's marijuana is much more potent and potentially more risky. Parents' actions could make a real difference. Moreover, some parents smoke marijuana too.

Recent data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows that 77% of US adolescents aged 12 to 17 thought there was "no great risk" associated with smoking marijuana once a month. A new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics finds as more states legalize the drug for adult use, more teenagers think it's safe.

As legalization of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use spreads across the country, the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) is anxious about how adolescents will be affected by the change in policies and attitudes toward the drug.

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The report appears in the February 27 online issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Specialists indicate that the brain of an individual continues to develop until the age of 20. "To not use substances in front of their children to model behaviors they want to see in their children", says Patrick.

The AAP report expresses concerns that legitimizing marijuana as a medication may lead teens to think its a safe drug, regardless of whether it's prescribed or not. Many types of research suggested that adolescents who smoke marijuana ten times per month may suffer certain brain alterations in regions which impair the ability to plan and to store memories.

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