To the editor:
Hello, my name is Lilly Session and for my semester project last semester, I have researched the effects of marijuana on the adolescent brain. I came to the conclusion that there is not enough effort in schools to deter marijuana use in high schoolers.
I polled a random sample of 99 people in my school, and 39 out of those 99 consume marijuana at least once a year, and six of those 99 use it at least one to three times a day. Additionally, out of those 99 polled, 81 know over five people in our school that use marijuana. Other sources besides my research also state that 32.9 percent of 12th grade students in America use marijuana in some way, shape, or form. W
hile doing background research for my presentation, I have learned that marijuana use in adolescents is detrimental to their brain development, as the active compounds in marijuana have the ability to possibly bind with the cannabinoid receptors in the brain and chemically alter the ever-growing synapses in the adolescent brain, even having the potential to alter or stunt them. Additionally, marijuana use is correlated with an increase in high school dropout rates, poor performance in academics, and paranoia and emotional distress.
Although there are some positive effects like stress relief, chronic pain relief, and in rare cases even relief of epileptic seizures, there are too many cons to outweigh the pros when it comes to the vulnerable and constantly changing adolescent brain.
I think it would be beneficial for schools to have more of an unbiased way of teaching students about the effects of marijuana, because as of right now, it is all fear-based instead of fact-based which is detrimental to learning as it sparks the desire to rebel, which is almost always present in teenagers.
I believe that teaching both the pros and cons of marijuana use in classes will allow the students to naturally come to the proper conclusion without feeling as if they are being forced into a specific direction. Fear mongering in education is not needed, when the evidence is right in front of us.
Lindbergh High School