Marijuana and the developing brain: Dr. Leana Wen comments

In a recent opinion piece in the Washington Post, Dr. Leana Wen writes of the top 10 issues in public health policy that she’s keeping an eye on.

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

One topic is the benefits and harm of marijuana.

In an interview with he American Medical Association (AMA), Dr Wen said:

I know this is not exactly on the topic necessarily of mental health, but related to this is I wrote a column recently about the dangers of marijuana use in young people.

And specifically, that two things could be true at once. That it could both be true that decriminalizing marijuana use may be important, because we know that the policies around incarceration have put Black and Brown people at disproportionate rates in jail for marijuana possession.

But at the same time, we should not be normalizing marijuana use in young people, because there are substantial detrimental impacts on the developing brain. And the developing brain, including high school-age, adolescents, college-age students, too. And so I think we just need to be careful as things like psychedelics get rolled out. Yes, we need to be studying them in a rigorous manner. But let’s not try to normalize their use in recreational ways.



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