Increasing Concerns Over Accessibility of Marijuana to Kids Sparks Wider Conversation on Legalization’s Impact

Dayton, Ohio – As the debate surrounding the legalization of marijuana continues, concerns are being raised about the potential impact on children. While some argue that marijuana is already a social norm and accessible to kids due to illegal street weed, others worry that legalization could normalize its use among young people.

According to Christine Murray, a behavioral health therapist at Dayton Children’s, the developing brain is particularly vulnerable to the effects of THC, the mind-altering component of marijuana. Exposure to THC during the brain’s development phase can lead to complications and hinder the building of crucial brain connections. Murray emphasizes that even secondhand marijuana smoke can damage the still-developing pathways in children and young people.

There are also health risks associated with short-term and long-term marijuana use in kids. Doctors warn that even short-term use can worsen mental health conditions, increase the risk of psychosis, aggression, and problems with memory and concentration. Long-term use can lead to even more serious issues such as cannabis use disorder, breathing problems, and mental health disorders like schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety.

Unregulated marijuana products also pose risks, as there is a possibility of other drugs being mixed in without the user’s knowledge. Street weed and THC vapes have been found to contain drugs other than marijuana. Furthermore, the advertising and packaging of marijuana products raise concerns that they may appeal to children or be mistaken for regular candy.

The impact of marijuana legalization on young people is an issue that has been seen in other states as well. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry reports that teenage marijuana use is at its highest level in 30 years. However, one study suggests that legalization may actually decrease use among younger teens.

In response to these concerns, the Montgomery County Prevention Coalition is advocating for regulations to protect children. They are calling for advertising restrictions similar to those placed on alcohol and tobacco, as well as child-proof packaging and clear labeling on marijuana products.

While there are differing opinions on the impact of marijuana legalization on kids, everyone agrees that the safety of children is a priority. The conversation surrounding this issue continues, with the aim of finding the best solution to protect kids and minimize the influence of the black market. The importance of implementing measures to keep legal marijuana affordable and accessible, while also addressing the potential risks to children, is at the forefront of the discussion.

In summary, the legalization of marijuana raises concerns about its impact on children. The developing brain is vulnerable to the effects of THC, and exposure to marijuana, even secondhand, can hinder crucial brain connections in children and young people. Short-term and long-term marijuana use can have negative health outcomes for kids, and unregulated products pose additional risks. Organizations are advocating for regulations to protect children, including advertising restrictions, child-proof packaging, and clear labeling. The conversation surrounding the impact of marijuana legalization on kids continues, with a focus on ensuring the safety and well-being of children.