Another study showed that “marijuana use is associated with substantial clinical problems including cognitive impairments, poor school performance, and a risk for developing abuse or dependence” (Hopfer, Stallings, Hewitt, Crowley, 2003, p. 834).
Society would be much better served by teaching these individuals the pitfalls of smoking marijuana from both a short- and long-term perspective. The effects that the drug has on individual thinking, memory and attention are not benign in nature. One place to begin this education would be with the parents and families of at risk individuals. Since “adolescents rarely seek treatment on their own but instead are brought to treatment by their parents” perhaps earlier education focused on young couples will give them the information they need as their children mature to recognize the signs of marijuana use.
Since young people seem to be the most vulnerable to the long-term effects of marijuana it may also be a consideration to teach abstinence in the schools.
This approach has worked in regards to sexual abstinence and could a positive aspect to society as well.
A recent study showed that “having fewer friends who used each substance protected against increases in the frequency of alcohol use, heavy episodic drinking, and marijuana use” (White, McMorris, Catalano, Fleming, Haggerty, Abbott, 2006, p. 812). The same study showed that having a higher religiosity and higher parental monitoring also protected against increases in the same behavior. Concentrating educational efforts on families, students and cohorts would probably be most effective and further studies on these approaches would be recommended.
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