Welcome back! Over the course of the past several blog posts we have been discussing the legalization of marijuana, as well as demographics of states and cities that have permitted the legal use of it and now, the initial findings from research done in areas where it is now legal.
Unfortunately, there are many negative impacts that have stemmed from legalizing pot. One of the largest being the effect on children. Much like alcohol, pot has had a direct effect on children. It’s been scientifically proven that the brain progresses throughout adolescence. It does not become fully developed until ages 22 to 23 for young women and 24 to 25 for young men. In addition, the younger children are when they start using addictive drugs, the more likely they are to become addicted.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, children who drink or smoke pot by age of 14, or before, are eight times more likely to become addicted to alcohol. They are six times more likely to become addicted to marijuana than those who start in their 20s.
A new study, published in a journal called Clinical Pediatrics, examined figures from the National Poison Data System, a clearinghouse for data from all of the poison control centers in the United States. This study was conducted from years 2000 – 2013.
The years between 2000 and 2006 showed no significant change in the amount of children that were reported as being exposed to marijuana. During this time, 11 states had legalized marijuana used for medicinal purposes only.
Between 2006 and 2013, the number of children reported as being exposed to pot increased by 14.5 percent. This percentage includes states that legalized medical marijuana and states that have not. In states that legalized pot for both recreational and medical use, the rate increased even more. A majority of the children exposed to marijuana were 3 years old or younger, according to the study.
How Is This Happening?
Unintentional consumptions account for 75 percent of all reported cases of children that are exposed to pot. While many legalization supporters argue that parental oversight is the main problem for the rise in young children being exposed to marijuana that is rarely the case. Due to the rise in popularity for edible marijuana, most children are ingesting it accidentally. People that live in areas that have legalized pot tend to cook the substance in brownies or cookies. When a child sees the dessert it is their first instinct to see a treat and eat it. This is causing the majority of the issue.
The only upside we have to this startling revelation is that those states that are currently pending and freshly legalized will be able to learn from the mistakes of Colorado and Washington D.C. We can only hope that the rate of children who are exposed to pot doesn’t continue to rise.
To learn more about the legalization of marijuana, be sure to visit with other blog posts in this series, below:
- Legalization of Marijuana – An Overview
- Legalization of Marijuana – The Cons
- Legalization of Marijuana – Demographics
- Legalization of Marijuana – Initial Findings
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