NOV 20, 2016 5:47 AM PST

Decriminalizing Weed Brings Out Other Public Health Problems

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

The US is on track to decreasing its stance on the criminalization of marijuana. As of November 2016, there are 8 states that have entirely legalized the use of marijuana, with Colorado and Washington leading the charge. Other states have also lessened their grip on marijuana, legalizing medical and/or non-psychoactive cannabis. However, as marijuana use is increasing, some medical experts are worried about the teens.

As addiction specialist Dr. Samuel Ball explained, addiction is one the biggest concerns for youths who can now smoke weed legally. According to Ball, youths who smoke pot at the same level as an adult are at twice the risk of developing an addiction. This is especially concerning since the brains of youths are still actively developing, and there's really no telling how this fragile organ will cope when addicted to chemicals in cannabis.

Ball is also concerned with teen drugged driving, which may be compounded with teen drunk driving and texting. With the recent decriminalization of the weed, Ball cautions that we may be trading one public health problem with another.
About the Author
I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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