Behavioural Neuroscience where shefocused on the effects of marijuana onteens’ brains. “The brain is sensitivefrom the early fetal period throughadolescence and into adulthood.
Sensitive meaning if you expose the brain
to a drug, it will cause a change.”
Change can take a variety of forms:
altering brain development; causing
cognitive impairment by limiting verbal
learning and memory; and, most notably,
bringing on psychosis or depression.
When and how much a teen smokes
plays a huge role: early and frequent/
heavy use (four or more times a week)
can cause up to a 10-point drop in IQ.
And in teens that drop is irreversible.
“There’s a significant reduction in
general functioning,” Dow-Edwards
says. “In teens, their maximum lifetime
potential is diminished. They will not
reach maximum potential because THC
(tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical that
causes most of marijuana’s psychological
Other potential side effects include a
two-fold increase in depression among
boys, and the risk of depression increases
for men, girls and women. Marijuana
can also trigger anxiety in some people
and has been found to increase psychotic
disorders. Marijuana-induced abnormal
brain function in teens, Dow-Edwards
says, can place greater demands on
parents, families, teachers, healthcare
providers and others.
Few teens (and parents and caregivers)fully understand the risks of marijuanause. Which is why Dow-Edwards tookher knowledge to high schools andcommunities across Alberta.
“Only one in four adolescents see
smoking pot as risky,” she says. “Kids
don’t see it as dangerous.”
A study released by UNICEF in
2014 found Canadian teens use more
marijuana than teens in any other
developed country: 29 per cent of
15-year-olds reported using pot.
Dow-Edwards says reducing the rateof pot use among teens is a matter ofeducation. AndDrugFreeKidsCanada.orgsays parents can be effective teachers.
The organization’s website notes:
“Most parents are surprised to learn that
they are the most powerful influence on
their children when it comes to drugs.
But, it’s true, so this message needs to
It’s time to clear the air, she adds. Both
teens and parents need to realize that
heavy pot-smoking during adolescence
can impair brain function, mood and
For more insights on marijuana, visitCanadaDrugFree.org.|a
Parents are the most powerful influence on
their children when it comes to drugs
The minimum agefor buying and usingcannabis is tied toAlberta’s legal age fordrinking and smoking:18.
The purchase ofcannabis is limitedto 30 grams pertransaction, which isalso the legal limit.
Young people—thoseunder the legal age of18—are not allowed topurchase or possessany cannabis.
Anyone appearingunder the age of 25 isrequired to show ID ifthey are purchasingcannabis or onlicensed premises.
Cannabis cannot beconsumed in vehiclesor in areas wheresmoking tobacco isprohibited. It is alsobanned at hospital,school and childcarefacilities, and nearplaygrounds, sportsand playing fields,zoos, outdoor theatresand outdoor poolsand splash pads.
CANNABIS FAST FACTS