Marijuana/Cannabis Use By Our Teenagers. Harmless or Cause For Concern?

Joint(detail)Hi there Parents!

Bill Strong Denver Therapist here.  It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  I’ve been a busy bee as I’ve been juggling my Strong Solutions practice with that of Paramount Health Directions.  I’m still working at Strong Solutions at 4770 East Iliff, Suite 114, Denver CO 80222 (Phone:  303-757-5390).  As I announced last year, I was asked to join Dr. Daniela Stamatiou at her Cherry Creek practice, which was not only an honor but it’s been a wonderful learning experience as well.  I have long though of Dr. Stamatiou as the best psychiatrist in Denver.  She has put together a group of mental health practitioners that is cutting-edge.  We are working providing the best comprehensive and integrative mental health services in the Denver area!

Elizabeth Huff, a nurse practitioner at PHD recently came across an important article in The Lancet Psychiatry re the effects of marijuana use on the teenage brain. Dr. Edmund Silins found that the more frequent use of pot highly correlated with negative events in an teen’s development. These negative outcomes were independent of socioeconomic factors, indicating that economic status does not protect adolescents from the adverse effects of daily marijuana use. Adolescents who used pot prior to the age of 17 had significant decreased rates of high school completion or college degree attainment, other illicit drug use, marijuana dependence (yes this is a real thing!) and suicide attempts. These outcomes were dose dependent, meaning that the more an adolescent smokes, the more likely he or she is of experiencing these negative outcomes. Daily users had up to a 63% decreased rate of high school completion than those who had never used cannabis. Daily users also experienced an 18 fold increase in marijuana dependence, 8 fold increase in other illicit drug use, and 7 fold increase in rates of suicide attempt. We can infer from the data that limiting exposure to cannabis use may prevent, or minimally, decrease the risk of these negative outcomes. It goes without saying that we as healthcare providers and you as parents can partner together to deliver a message of caution with marijuana use in your children while providing education about healthy brain development and future successes!

I found this to be very unsettling, yet it confirmed what we all see with habitual marijuana use.  I debate this issue a lot in my office, with the teen who smokes regularly but says his/her poor grades have nothing to do with their pot use.  It’s helpful to see some research that’s on-point to the effects of marijuana by our teens.  Let’s all work together in informing our teens about the negative effects their pot use puts them at risk for.

Please contact me at Paramount Health Directions:   303-393-1726

155 S. Madison St., Suite 328

Denver CO  80209

Or as usual at Strong Solutions:  303-757-5390


Bill Strong Denver’s Solution Focused Therapist


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