Marijuana: Does Legal Mean Safe?
This item is included in the following series/curriculum: Substance Abuse Prevention Curriculum Essential Health: A High School Print/Video Curriculum
Running Time: 20 Minutes
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Many teens think that pot is harmless because some states have legalized marijuana for medical and/or recreational purposes. This fact-based program emphasizes that legality is not the same thing as safety and details the risks of marijuana on mental and physical health. Clinicians talk about how the vast majority of their patients have been addicted to marijuana, and recovering addicts themselves vividly describe their struggles with addiction. Their stories illustrate how marijuana has affected their school and family lives, their ability to drive a car, and their mental health. A scientist describes her research showing that marijuana use by teens causes decline in mental functioning and IQ. The program stresses that even in states that have legalized marijuana it is still illegal for anyone under 21, and it is still illegal at the federal level.
video, plus teacher’s resource book, student handouts and pre/post tests in digital format
The dynamics of marijuana use is changing all over the country because some states have legalized recreational use for adults and many more have allowed use for medical purposes. The federal government continues to consider marijuana illegal. Teens are receiving conflicting messages from the medical community and different levels of government. A recent survey of youths between the ages of 12 and 17 showed that 52 percent believed that marijuana was not harmful. While legalization decreases teens' perception of risk, marijuana possession and use are always illegal on school campuses and for those under the age of 21. With more medical marijuana outlets than Starbucks cafes in the state of Colorado, the need for scientific research is clear. The young man who hosts this program poses questions that are answered by medical and academic expert s as well as teens. Dr. Leslie Walkerstates that FDA approval would require large controlled studies. he adds that it has been shown that heart rates increase 20 to 100 percent while smoking marijuana. Madeline Meler, PhD., talks about addiction and dependency. The teacher's resource book is filled with student activities, tests, and additional resources. This program is fairly balanced, although there is no doubt of the message that marijuana is not appropriate for teen use. A good addition to middle and high school health classes.
—Ann Weber, Bellarmine College Prep., San Jose, CA
School Library Journal
This timely Human Relations Media program looks at the risks and safety issues surrounding marijuana use, particularly in teens. With the legalization of marijuana taking place to varying degrees in several U.S. states, myths abound about the plant and the consequences of using it.
This program reviews what it means for marijuana to be considered legal—different states have different requirements—the fact that it is not legal at the federal level, nor is it approved for medical use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA sees the drug as a highly addictive substance, and one reason it isn’t an approved substance is that there haven’t been enough large scale clinical trials to substantiate its approval. What is known is that marijuana has some of the same carcinogenic and other less than healthy compounds as tobacco products.
Risk factors covered include the addictiveness of marijuana, the physical and emotional side effects of long term use, the effect on the brain, driving while high, and withdrawal symptoms. These are all explored through the lens of common perception, which is usually a myth, followed by the revealing truth. We've probably all heard some of the misconceptions such as marijuana is perfectly fine to use because it’s organic; it isn't addictive; and it is much safer than meth, heroin, or even alcohol. One of the more interesting facts that research has uncovered is that marijuana lowers I.Q. Even when one stops using, the I.Q. numbers stay the same, and do not rebound to previous levels. One of the strong points of this production is the connection made between marijuana use and the teenage brain. As with other substance use, the effects on the teen brain are long lasting and sometimes permanent. Since the DVD is aimed at teen and young adult audience, it is critical that this connection is highlighted.
The program is on par with other Human Relations Media films, and is a high quality production. It does have a bias, and presents only the negative side of marijuana use. It sets a serious tone and the background music sounds rather tense and ominous at times. Overall, it is recommended for high school, public and academic libraries.
—Lori Widzinski, Multimedia Collections and Services, University Libraries, University at Buffalo, State University of New York
Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO)