Health Consequences of Using Marijuana: Effects on Infants, Children and Young Adults
Dr. Ron Holmes
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
The attitudes about marijuana are changing. Proponents argue that it is safe or at least no more dangerous than alcohol. This attitude is supported by the availability and decriminalization of “medical marijuana” and “recreational marijuana” in several States, implying that marijuana is safe to use. However, as with alcohol, users need to know and understand the risks and the consequences of using marijuana. Opponents argue that marijuana is dangerously addictive, a “gateway” to abusing other substances and that the health consequences are devastating, especially for the children, teens and young adults.
Marijuana affects different people differently. The short-term and long-term response of the user is dependent upon the dose and concentration of the product, the contents of the product and the duration and frequency of use. Its psychotropic effects are influenced by the social and behavioral environment and by the genetic traits of the individual. This makes it difficult to generalize as to how one individual may react after using marijuana, but nearly all experts agree that the individual and societal effects of using marijuana are negative.
The focus of this presentation is to:
1. Describe the marijuana plant and its active ingredients
2. Outline the immediate effects of using marijuana
3. Review the long term effects of marijuana on the newborn, infant, child and young adult