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Doctors: Pot use harmful for young people: Here’s why

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By Shelby Lin Erdman

Cox Media Group National Content Desk

The American Academy of Pediatrics is warning against the legalization of marijuana because of what it considers the harmful impact of the drug on young people.

In a new report released this week, the organization said it is against the recreational and medical use of pot for children.

Because some parents use the drug, they think it’s OK for children, but “we would rather not mess around with the developing brain,” study co-author and Stanford University pediatrics professor Dr. Seth Ammerman said.

While marijuana use is remarkably common among young people in the U.S., according to the AAP, it comes with major health risks.

“About one in five high school students has used it in the past month, and one in every 16 teenagers uses it daily,” the report said.

Almost 40 percent of U.S. high school students have tried marijuana, about 20 percent are current users and close to 10 percent first tried it before the age of 13, according to government data.

The perception that pot use isn’t dangerous for young people is wrong, the group said. It is both dangerous in the short term and the long term, the group said.

The new survey said marijuana interferes with a teen’s judgment, concentration, reaction time and coordination.

“The ways that it interferes with brain functions such as memory, attention and problem-solving can make it harder for youth to learn and succeed in school,” the report said.

“Contrary to what people think, it can be addictive.”

New research has shown that marijuana use during the teenage and young adult years when the young brain is still developing can lead to “permanent problems with memory, learning and thinking.”

The AAP believes in decriminalizing marijuana, but is opposed to legalizing the drug.

In the states that do allow recreational use of marijuana, it’s still illegal for anyone under 21.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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