The Irrelevance of the Marijuana Debate

The marijuana debate – legal or not legal, gateway drug or not a gateway drug, medicinal drug or addictive drug –  is irrelevant when it comes to children and the developing brain.  Marijuana with its THC content is a drug and a new study shows that there has been a 133% increase in the past 11 years in children admitted to hospital emergency rooms for marijuana intoxication.  As attitudes about marijuana shift around the world, researchers are warning parents that it is risky to keep marijuana around children of any age, but especially those who are too young to know what it is.  In part this is due to increase levels of THC in today’s marijuana.  THC concentration in cannabis products has increased from 9% in 2004 to 20% in 2014.

In the U.S., in states where recreational or medical marijuana is legal, the number of pediatric marijuana intoxication cases reported to poison control centers has increased by 30% each year from 2005 to 2011. Children in states where marijuana was legal had more severe symptoms and were more likely to be admitted to a critical care unit compared with those in states where marijuana was not legal. This CNN article and video explains more. Read on

At Freedom Institute, we have seen an increased number of families seeking help for their adolescent child whose marijuana usage has escalated from occasional to daily. If you are concerned about your child and their substance use, the first and best step is to educate yourself and then seek advice and help.  Check out our blogs on how to talk to your adolescent about marijuana use and the debate around its legalization.


To learn more about how we treat adolescents and young adults, click here and please call us at 212-838-0044 for a free telephone consultation.