Kansas City,
21
February
2018
|
11:06 PM
Europe/Amsterdam

Kansas City Star: Parents don’t leave your kids in the dark about weed

By David Frese

Eighteen-year-old Kansas Citian Keyonna Brown said when she was growing up, her parents didn’t talk to her about smoking marijuana.

“Nobody had to tell me, I learned from experience,” she said. “That’s why I don’t smoke. I get paranoid. I get scary paranoid.”

She and Jayla Wilson, 18, sat around a table the other day at the Lucile H. Bluford Branch of the Kansas City Public Library discussing the drug use they’ve seen in their peers and in older people.

“If you stop by here once a week, you will see how many people come in here looking like they do every drug,” Wilson said. “Some kids start when they get around their friends — 13, 14, 15. I know a couple of people who smoke with their kids.”

Fred Muench, the newly installed president of the national Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, says the long-term effects on the developing brain are lessened the older a person is when she or he first tries marijuana. The brain in adolescence is in a period of impulsivity, curiosity and consequence-free thinking.

“The goal here is delay, delay, delay, delay,” he said. “Let a 25-year-old make a decision about using marijuana, not a 15-year-old.”

 Dr. Rochelle Harris, clinical psychologist, Division of Developmental and Behavioral Sciences at Children’s Mercy
“We know there is an impact on the brain when it’s at its most vulnerable, at its period of greatest growth, and that is occurring in the teen years.”
Dr. Rochelle Harris, clinical psychologist, Division of Developmental and Behavioral Sciences at Children’s Mercy

Parents also need to be concerned about the potency of today’s marijuana, said Rochelle Harris, a child and adolescent psychologist in developmental and behavioral sciences at Children’s Mercy Hospital.

“Even in states where it’s been legalized there’s a wide range of potency and increased potency compared to the parents’ generation, when they might have been experimenting with marijuana in young adulthood,” she said. “In states where marijuana is illegal, it is not regulated, and so parents wouldn’t know — and kids using the marijuana wouldn’t know — what else was in it.”

Harris said studies are showing that at the very least, frequent marijuana use is having similar effects on young people as alcohol and tobacco.

“The teenage brain shouldn’t have regular exposure to any of those toxins,” she said. “We know there is an impact on the brain when it’s at its most vulnerable, at its period of greatest growth, and that is occurring in the teen years.”

 

Read the full article via the Kansas City Star.

Learn about the services offered through the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Sciences at Children's Mercy.