As the state of California prepares for the legal sale of recreational pot next year, concerns arise over the impact of the drug to the youth.
Once sales begin in the state, young people will inevitably be exposed to cannabis advertising. This direction towards normalization, per the most common sentiment, could mislead the youth about the real impact of the drug.
Proliferation of misinformation
As there will no longer be a need for a doctor’s prescription to get access to the drug, there will most likely be a rise in the number of households that will use marijuana. Teenagers in these households are more at risk of misunderstanding the capacity of the drug without formal guidance and education.
For now, some independent groups in the state are forming programs that seek to educate the youth about cannabis and its use. They try to emphasize to their students that just because the substance is legal does not mean it’s already okay to consume it, especially on a regular basis.
The drug’s legal status in the state is causing a round of questions and confusion among young groups of people. They are also pressured by peers who think smoking weed is cool, and with the one-sided information about the medical effects of the drug.
While marijuana has been widely supported by scientific evidence to help relieve chronic pain and other conditions, not commonly known is its link to poor respiratory health and increased car accidents.
Marijuana use among teens is also associated with low cognitive and brain function.
The problem is, adolescents are less likely to believe that the drug is harmful if the drug is legal in their states.
Rand Corp behavioral scientist Elizabeth D’Amico believes this should be a major area of concern that warrants more discussion.
“The changing legal landscape has a lot to do with adolescents’ changing perceptions. That’s why we really need to change the conversation around this drug.”