Pediatricians warn about dangers of pot use by kids

As marijuana use for recreational purposes is becoming legal in a growing number of U.S. states, pediatricians are warning about dangers of kids using the controversial drug.

Sue Scheff, who works with kids in at-risk communities, said she heard many children saying that it must be “OK” to use marijuana because it is legal.

Hence, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is planning to issue new guidelines this week for medical care providers as well as parents to talk to teenagers about the risks of marijuana use.

AAP noted that changes in marijuana’s legal status might lower teens’ perceptions of the risk associated with use of the drug, prompting more teens to start smoking pot.

Parents can tell their children that pot isn’t a benign drug, and that it can cause abnormal brain development, impact memory, and slow down ability to concentrate. Parents’ actions could make a real difference.

In a newly released statement, AAP said, “So if you use marijuana in front of your teens, they are more likely to use it themselves, regardless of whether you tell them not to.”

Marijuana use is legal in a number of states, including Alaska, California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts, Nevada, Maine and the District of Columbia. Many other states are mulling proposals to make it legal in the near future.