Here’s the latest proclamation to fan the flames over the country’s burgeoning marijuana legalization movement; a group of doctors published an op-ed in the Sunday New York Times advocating for the legal age of cannabis consumption to be raised to 25.
Physicians Kenneth L. Davis and Mary Jeanne Kreek penned the missive, which seeks to alert people to the risks of cannabis consumption early on in life and encourages the development of educational campaigns to raise awareness about the drug’s health risks.
“Regular exposure to THC in adolescents can permanently change neuropathways that are related to cognition, including learning, attention and emotional responses,” they write.
In many US states that have regulated recreational marijuana, the age limit is the same cut-off as alcohol, 21 years old.
The doctors cite a passel of studies that suggest that cannabis has negative effects on kids, from attention span to their ability to process information and memory. One investigation actually showed that IQ scores dropped among individuals who used cannabis on a regular basis as kids.
Not all studies have found that cannabis has deleterious effects on children’s functioning. In Jamaica, a seminal study by Melanie Dreher on Jamaican children whose mothers consumed cannabis while they were in the womb found that some reflexes were better among kids whose moms had smoked during pregnancy. The cannabis research that is currently developing is certainly necessary, especially as we are seeing the beginnings of a neonatal marijuana product industry.
Davis and Kreek also warned in their article that THC is just not like it used to be. They cite a statistic that in the early ‘90s, the average THC in confiscated marijuana