Marijuana and Children w/ Dr. Andy Farah (Pedcast)



w/ Dr. Andy Farah



Welcome to the next edition of Portable Practical Pediatrics. I am your host, Dr. Paul Smolen, a practicing board certified general pediatrician in Charlotte, NC. I am thrilled to have a returning guest and expert psychiatrist, Dr. Andy Farah. Dr. Farah is on the faculty at High point University, Chief of Psychiatry at High Point Division of UNC Healthcare, Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and an expert in many things, one of which is the effects of marijuana on children. Information about this subject is literally exploding so Dr. Farah is here to bring us the latest. Welcome Dr. Farah!  


Q1. Doc Smo: Dr. Farah, you are very familiar with the newest studies published in the psychiatric journals with regards to marijuana and its effects on children. You and I have talked about this topic in a previous pedcast but I think the subject is so important, that my listeners need to keep abreast of what more we have learned about marijuana’s affects on young brains. The push to legalize and liberalize marijuana use seems to continue to grow in the United States. As my listeners try and make up their minds about this issue, I think hearing from a psychiatrist on the front lines of drug abuse and mental illness would be very useful. So, let me ask you directly, do you think MJ is an essentially harmless drug that is safe for teens and young adults to use as a recreational drug or do parents have good reason to make every effort to keep their teens away from MJ? Should we listen to the MJ advocates that like to tell us, “What is the big deal about MJ”?


Dr. Farah answer to Q1:


Q2. Doc Smo: Dr. Farah, are you telling us that the destructive effects of MJ use are often permanent- (Memory, judgment, flattening of personality?) Are the effects dose related as well? MJ changes the way a teen brain wires itself? More dangerous for teens than older adults?


 Dr. Farah answers Q2:


Q3: Doc Smo: Are there teens that are at higher risk of the toxic effects of MJ than other teens. It seems like a lot of teens use MJ regularly without terrible consequences?


Dr. Farah answers Q3:



Q4 Doc Smo: I’ve got to ask an obvious question Dr. Farah- If MJ has such potential destructive effects in the teenage brain, what happens when a pregnant mother exposes her unborn child to MJ?  Is there effect on men who are fathering babies?


Dr Farah answer to Q4:



Dr. Farah, I can’t thank you enough for sharing this important information with me and my blog audience. We all have the responsibility to do be informed, as a society makes some tough decisions for our children. For me, legalization of any mind altering drug is serious business. I think you bring an insight and perspective that is super informed. Thank you and please promise me that you will return soon with new information about other childhood mental health issues.       Dr. Farah and I welcome your comments on my blog, Have an opinion or insight or a story that is relevant to today’s topic, share it with other parents via my blog. If you have subjects you would like Dr. Farah to address in future podcasts, send those in as well.  This is a blog for goodness sake, a place for conversation and learning. This is Dr. Paul Smolen, your pedcast host. Until next time.