When young people hear their parents, teachers, or older relatives warn against the use of marijuana, they often think that they are being too old fashioned.
Many people don’t take the dangers of marijuana use very seriously, especially since more states have approved it for medical use. This sends mixed signals to teenagers and young people, leading them to believe that marijuana use has no negative side effects.
Of all marijuana users 9 percent become dependent on marijuana. Among users who begin young, 17 percent become dependent, and among daily users, 50 percent become dependent. Dependency is dangerous for psychological and physical health.
In a major, recent study conducted by scientists at King’s College, London’s Institute of Psychiatry, one of the dangers of marijuana addiction was a damaging effect on adolescent brains.
The study began in 1972 by measuring the IQ of 1,000 participants then followed them through adolescence and adulthood. Those who had begun using marijuana before the age of 18 had shown an average drop in IQ of about 8 points.
Though this doesn’t seem like a lot, the average IQ is 100. High IQs have been linked to success in higher education, achieving a higher income, better health, and a longer life expectancy.
This study is significant because approximately 17 percent of admissions to treatment facilities is for marijuana. Of those in treatment primarily for marijuana, 56 percent began using by age 14.
Prevention through education will play a major role in ensuring the success of future generations, but treatment through rehabilitation is the best option for those who are dependent on marijuana.