Pediatricians Tell Teens to Stop Smoking Marijuana

American Academy of Pediatrics issues strict guidance plan for (weedy) parents.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a new clinical report on Monday, Counseling Parents and Teens About Marijuana Use in the Era of Legalization of Marijuana, offering guidance for pediatricians to inform parents and teens about negative adolescent marijuana use. The report is especially timely, as state-by-state cannabis laws are enacted––weed is currently legal in more than half of the country—and many adolescents have easy access to weed, and often view it (as their parents do) as a therapeutic substance. However, doctors still agree that “marijuana is not a benign drug for teens [because] the teen brain is still developing, and marijuana may cause abnormal brain development.”

From Counseling Parents and Teens About Marijuana Use in the Era of Legalization of Marijuana:

“Pediatricians are in a unique position to provide parents and teenagers with accurate information and counseling regarding the consequences of marijuana or cannabis use by children, teenagers, and adults. A number of strategies can be used to counsel families about preventing use and to intervene if marijuana is being used either recreationally or medically by the families for whom they provide medical care.”

The AAP guidance analyzes an aggregate of current statistics, data, legalese, and studies surrounding marijuana-use in adults to provide informed insight into how the herb may be of medical value to children. The report explores weedy areas of interest such as “the role of the pediatrician,” in recommending any cannabis treatments, to any observed adverse effects, and offers talking points for families exploring medical marijuana. 

“Parents will say, ‘I use it moderately and I’m fine with it, so it’s really benign and not a problem if my kid uses it,” Dr. Seth Ammerman, report co-author and professor of pediatrics at Stanford University said to CBS News. Though studies show that cannabis consumption among U.S. teens is actually on the decline.

Still, the AAP guidance is especially prudent, as medical marijuana is big business in America. And the healthcare sector of weed is one of the driving innovative forces within the modern normalization movement.

As reported by Forbes, recently released analytics from the industry analysis arm of cannabis investment firm, New Frontier Data, says:

“The legal cannabis market was worth an estimated $7.2 billion in 2016 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 17 percent. Medical marijuana sales are projected to grow from $4.7 billion in 2016 to $13.3 billion in 2020."

Marijuana may indeed offer economic opportunity and possess medical benefits, sure. But the AAP report further proves how imperative it is to be informed on the herb before pursuing any weed-infused endeavor, or medical marijuana treatment.