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To What Extent Does Cannabis Smoking Damage Our Teenagers Health?


Wednesday, March 11th, 2009 To What Extent Does Cannabis Smoking Damage Our Teenagers Health?

An article in the Times, by Dr Mark Porter (07 03 09) investigates the cannabis fall out and the effects on our teenagers health and well-being.

As indicated it is no surprise that any parent who is aware that their child is using cannabis will become somewhat anxious, that is a normal approach.

It is argued in this report that ‘assume your child is smoking the product’. Statistics already suggest that one in four admits to having done so by 15. The very least, your child will be associating with those tat do yse cannabis.

Essentially the article questions how worried as parent’s should we be? On balance the answer is that if you are confident that your child is not a regular user then do not over react, staying calm and objective will be crucial as it will be merely a passing phase.

However, there is a fundamental need to acknowledge that if your child is smoking cannabis at home, then alas this should be regarded as more worrying as this undoubtedely implies that they using the drug more frequently.

Indeed what requires consideration is the fact that fron a physcal perspective, the young person is still not being harmed, but equally cannabis will damage their lungs more so than tobacco.

To What Extent Does Cannabis Smoking Damage Our Teenagers Physical And Mental Health?

An article in the Times, by Dr Mark Porter (07 03 09) investigates the cannabis fall out and the effects on our teenager’s health and well-being.

As indicated it is no surprise that any parent who is aware that their child is using cannabis will become somewhat anxious, that is a normal approach.

It is argued in this report that ‘assumes your child is smoking the product’. Statistics already suggest that one in four admits to having done so by 15. The very least, your child will be associating with others that use cannabis.

Essentially the article questions how worried as parents should we be? On balance the answer is that if you are confident that your child is not a regular user then does not over reacts, staying calm and objective will be crucial as it will be merely a passing phase.

However, there is a fundamental need to acknowledge that if your child is smoking cannabis at home, then alas this should be regarded as more worrying as this undoubtedly implies that they using the drug more frequently.

Indeed what requires consideration is the fact that from a physical perspective, the young person is still not being harmed, but equally cannabis will damage their lungs more so than tobacco.

Significantly, if the young person is smoking a joint openly within the home then alas as a parent, you need to recognise that there is a very serious issue. From that point of view there may be problems ahead which can lead to damaged lungs (three to four joints a day is the equivalent of 20 cigarettes a day), serious mental illness (a one in 15 risk in those who smoke at least a joint a day), and addiction (one heavy user in ten experiences withdrawal effects if they try to stop). But the most common problem is the apathy that comes with being stoned - apathy that few teenagers can afford in their academic careers.

Thus as readers we need to know the facts in terms of cannabis use and its effects to offer clarity and empowerment.

Through his own admission Dr Porter argues that he himself had very liberal views in relation to cannabis, such were his opinions that the drug was compared in a favourable way as opposed to smoking and alcohol. His article presented in the Times (14 02 09) suggest that the days are most certainly gone whereby clear-minded people regarded cannabis as harmful.

Over the last decade, evidence suggests that cannabis is indeed both potent and harmful. Realistically speaking, for most of the 3-4 million people in the UK who dabble the risks are still small. The vast majority are occasional users who, with time, will eventually turn their backs on the drug and emerge unscathed.

Notwithstanding and in context this is in stark contrast to the outlook for the tens of millions who use cigarettes and alcohol - two legal drugs that kill, maim and injure more people in a weekend than cannabis does in a year. But there are two groups who seem particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of cannabis: heavy users and those who used the drug at an early age. This has to be recognised with immediate effect.

Equally, as parents, we also have to be realistic from the point of view that young children are almost as likely to experiment with cannabis as with tobacco.

More specifically, the government is responding to the growing concerns that are in existence, particularly amongst doctors. This has been highlighted by the recent u-turn upgrading cannabis from a grade C to a grade B under the Misuse of Drugs Act, a message that it hopes will not go unheeded by young people.

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