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American Academy of Pediatrics Report:
Counseling Parents and Teens about Marijuana Use in the Era of Legalization of Marijuana
The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a new report encouraging pediatricians to talk with parents and children who are their patients. The doctors are concerned that legalization is promoting marijuana use as harmless and that people, especially children, are believing it.
Six key points in a handout titled Talking Points for Parents and Teens, which is included in the report, offer the following advice for pediatricians to convey to families:
“Marijuana is not a benign drug for teens. The teen brain is still developing, and marijuana may cause abnormal brain development.
“Teens who use marijuana regularly may develop serious mental health disorders, including addiction, depression, and psychosis.
“There are no research studies on the use of medical marijuana in teens, so actual indications, appropriate dosing, effects, and side effects are unknown. The only data available on medical marijuana in the pediatric population are limited to its use in children with severe refractory seizures.
“Recreational use of marijuana by minors and young adults under the age of 21 years is illegal and, if prosecuted, may result in a permanent criminal record, affecting schooling, jobs, etc.
“Never drive under the influence of marijuana or ride in a car with a driver who is under the influence of marijuana. Adults and teens regularly get into serious and even fatal car accidents while under the influence of marijuana.
“Marijuana smoke is toxic, similar to secondhand tobacco smoke. The use of vaporizers or hookahs does not eliminate the toxic chemicals in marijuana smoke.”
Read full report and handout here.
Should You Tell Uber Your Driver Was High?
In a New York Times column titled The Ethicist, a reader writes that she called an Uber car for a ride to the airport. When she got into the car, she smelled marijuana. Because she was running late, she did not follow her instinct to exit the Uber car and call a taxi.
The Uber driver did not drive well, and when they reached the airport, her passenger told the driver she should not use marijuana while on duty. The driver denied she had and said the pot smell must have come from a previous fare. The passenger pointed out the driver shouldn’t let her fares smoke in her car.
The passenger asks The Ethicist if she should report the driver to Uber. What would you do?
Read the Ethicist’s advice here.
The Cerebellum May Play Unforeseen Role
in Driving Addiction
Neuroscientists have tended to believe a key part of the brain, the cerebellum, pictured in red above, plays no role in addiction. (The cerebellum sits at the base of the brain in the back.) Scientists thought this part of the brain controlled our movement and physical coordination, and that was all it did.
However, the cerebellum occupies about 10 percent of the brain’s mass but contains 80 percent of its neurons, the nerve cells responsible for communication.
A group of researchers from US and international institutions have been studying the cerebellum’s possible role in addiction. They brought their individual studies together in articles just published in two neuroscience journals. They present seven arguments for considering that the cerebellum is part of the addiction brain circuitry.
The work of these neuroscientists points to the need for accelerated research on the role the cerebellum might play in addiction and offers up hope for finding more effective ways to treat it.

Read Psychology Today story about this research here.

The Marijuana Report is a weekly e-newsletter published by National Families in Action in partnership with SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana). Visit our website, The Marijuana Report.Org, to learn more about the marijuana story unfolding across the nation.
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About National Families in Action (NFIA)
NFIA consists of families, scientists, business leaders, physicians, addiction specialists, policymakers, and others committed to protecting children from addictive drugs. Our vision is:
  • Healthy, drug-free kids
  • Nurturing, addiction-free families
  • Scientifically accurate information and education
  • A nation free of Big Marijuana
  • Smart, safe, FDA-approved medicines developed from the cannabis plant (and other plants) 
  • Expanded access to medicines in FDA clinical trials for children with epilepsy 
About SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)
SAM is a nonpartisan alliance of lawmakers, scientists and other concerned citizens who want to move beyond simplistic discussions of "incarceration versus legalization" when discussing marijuana use and instead focus on practical changes in marijuana policy that neither demonizes users nor legalizes the drug. SAM supports a treatment, health-first marijuana policy.  SAM has four main goals:
  • To inform public policy with the science of today's marijuana.
  • To reduce the unintended consequences of current marijuana policies, such as lifelong stigma due to arrest.
  • To prevent the establishment of "Big Marijuana" - and a 21st-Century tobacco industry that would market marijuana to children.
  • To promote research of marijuana's medical properties and produce, non-smoked, non-psychoactive pharmacy-attainable medications.
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