Persuading teens to say no to marijuana is harder these days, now that it’s legal for adults in Colorado and Washington, reports Tara Parker-Pope in the New York Times.
Forty-four percent of teens have tried marijuana at least once and 7 percent use it frequently, according to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.
In a survey, young people were asked what influences them not to use drugs.
Getting into trouble with the law and disappointing their parents were cited as the two most common reason young people did not use marijuana. The concern now is that legalization will remove an important mental barrier that keeps adolescents from trying marijuana at a young age.
The brain is still developing during adolescence, and marijuana can interfere with the wiring, say drug-prevention experts. They want young people to delay drug use till their brains have matured, some time in the early 20s.
Studies in New Zealand and Canada have found that marijuana use in the teenage years can result in lost I.Q. points. (Partnership CEO Steve) Pasierb says the current generation of young people are high achievers and are interested in the scientific evidence about how substance use can affect intelligence.
. . . “Talk to a junior or senior about whether marijuana use shaves a couple points off their SATs, and they will listen to you.”
The achievers may listen, but they’re the least likely to fry their brains with weed — or other drugs. It’s the kids with fewer IQ points to spare — and less mature brains — who are at risk of abusing drugs and alcohol.