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"Marijuana Damages Young Brains" - Kenneth L. Davis, MD

  • The New York Times
  • New York, NY
  • (June 16, 2019)

Recent efforts to legalize marijuana in New York and New Jersey have been stalled – but not killed – by disputes over how exactly to divvy up the revenues from marijuana sales and by worries about drugged driving. Those are both important issues. But another concern should be at the center of this debate: the medical implications of legalizing marijuana, particularly for young people. Despite society’s shift on marijuana use, it does not change the fact that the drug is not safe for high school and college students. Kenneth Davis, MD, president and CEO of the Mount Sinai Health System, cited studies that show a “deleterious impact on cognitive development in adolescents.” Marijuana can impair “executive function, processing speed, memory, attention span and concentration.” Dr. Davis said the explanation is simple: the adolescent brain is still vulnerable “especially the prefrontal cortex.” They added, “States that legalize marijuana should set a minimum age of no younger than 25.”

— Kenneth L. Davis, MD, President, CEO, Mount Sinai Health System

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