Piedmont Education Speaker Series: The Effects of Marijuana on the Developing Brain

unnamedMarijuana use among teens has remained relatively stable over the past few years, according to a recent report from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, but there continues to be a shifting of teens’ attitudes about its perceived risks. The Institute’s 2014 Monitoring the Future survey of drug use and attitudes among American high-schoolers found that the majority of high school seniors do not think occasional marijuana smoking is harmful.

According to a 2011 California Healthy Kids Survey, more than half of Piedmont 11th graders reported having tried marijuana at least once in the past year, and 45 percent reported using marijuana four or more times. Data from this survey also revealed that 45 percent of 11th graders believed that smoking marijuana once or twice a week posed little risk to their health. However, researchers know that using marijuana once a week or more can change the structure of the teenage brain, specifically in areas dealing with memory and problem-solving. Helping teens understand the risks of marijuana use as the legalization debate unfolds around the country poses a special challenge for parents.

On Tuesday, March 24 from 7:30 – 9:00 pm in the Piedmont High School Student Center, Abby Medcalf, PhD, a specialist in drug and alcohol treatment, will explore recent studies showing how use of marijuana and other illegal drugs during adolescence can disrupt brain development and have long-term consequences. This event is free for Series subscribers. Others may purchase tickets at the door for $10.

The Education Speaker Series is presented by the Piedmont Unified School District with the generous support of the Associated Parent Clubs of Piedmont, Piedmont Educational Foundation, and Piedmont Parents Network.

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