Memory loss, cognitive deficits, drops in IQ, and abnormal brain structures are a few of the neurotoxic effects that recent research has correlated to marijuana use in adolescents, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. While a number of studies suggest a link between these changes and regular cannabis use, particularly for young teens, there is no definitive evidence that marijuana is entirely to blame. Thomas McLellan of the Treatment Research Institute in Philadelphia and former deputy White House drug policy director, says, “It’s a fact that as use of marijuana becomes more regular and done by a person who has a developing brain, you have concentration, motivation, and cognitive problems associated with the drug…You can be a proponent of marijuana or you can be against marijuana, but you can’t say marijuana is good for a developing brain.”
Pot smoking among American teenagers is on the rise. The 2013 Monitoring the Future survey from the National Institute on Drug Abuse says 6.5 percent of high school seniors smoke daily, up from 2.4 percent in 1993. With a recent Gallup poll finding that 58 percent of the public favors legalization – and with marijuana already legal in Washington state and Colorado – understanding any negative effects of marijuana has gained fresh urgency.