Preventing Recreational Cannabis Risks
A very good article recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine discussed various options for minimizing health risks associated with legalizing recreational marijuana use.
Some of the risks associated with marijuana consumption identified included:
- Impaired cognitive and psychomotor function
- Risk of psychotic symptoms and panic attacks
- Cannabis dependence, with double the rate among youth
- Negative effects on brain development
An important point raised by the author of the paper is whether marijuana will replace other substance use, like alcohol, tobacco or opioids, or be used in addition to other substances. If the answer is the later, we could expect more harm to the health and safety of Americans as recreational marijuana laws expand.
In addition, we do not know the full negative health, safety and economic consequences associated with the increased use of more potent forms of marijuana available today that did not exist just 10 or 20 years ago.
The paper also presented five decisions that governments will need to make regarding marijuana legalization that will have a significant impact on public health and safety.
One of these is whether prevention campaigns should start before legal cannabis is available in a region.
Given the significant decreases in perceived harmfulness of marijuana among youth throughout the country, hesitating to provide prevention to address beliefs about risks, and other myths, misconceptions and norms associated with marijuana use would allow youth consumption rates and harmful outcomes to increase.
The article when on to suggest that media campaigns could target young people with messages to counter commercial promotion where it’s allowed, and encourage adults to talk to them about the effects of cannabis, especially on driving.
To these points, Prevention Plus Wellness (PPW) provides a number of marijuana quizzes and slide programs that can be easily and quickly used to counter marijuana industry promotion and educate young people and community members, including those addressing media marketing literacy, youth use and risks, and general marijuana awareness.
In addition, PPW offers a ready-to-use school and community media campaign with materials targeting parents, teachers and other adults to talk with youth about the effects of cannabis on driving, brain development, educational success, physical and mental health, addiction and other critical issues.
Read the other four options discussed for minimizing health risks associated with legalizing recreational marijuana use: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1614783#t=article
Quote of the Day: Wilma Weber, a Health Educator with Grays Harbor County Public Health in Aberdeen, Washington recently stated that their SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness program: “Had opened up deeper discussion around a multitude of health-related topics with her YMCA young leaders group.”
How is your Prevention Plus Wellness program making a difference for young people in your area?
Send us your quote today: firstname.lastname@example.org