Hello Parents and Patients at Paramount Health Directions!!!

We are excited to be introducing our monthly blog feature on our new website!

In our efforts to provide the most up-to-date psychiatric care in Denver, Colorado, we want to keep everyone up to date on current issues in mental health and psychiatry. We also want to add some helpful info for families when you need it for talking points with your kids.

This is Elizabeth Huff, a nurse practitioner at Paramount Health Directions. I recently came across an article in The Lancet Psychiatry this month about the effects of cannabis, or marijuana, use on the adolescents brain. Dr. Edmund Silins et al. found that the more frequent use of cannabis highly correlated with adverse events in an adolescent’s development. The negative outcomes were independent of socioeconomic factors, indicating that economic status does not protect adolescents from the adverse effects of daily marijuana use. Adolescents who used cannabis prior to the age of 17 had decreased rates of high school completion or college degree attainment, other illicit drug use, cannabis dependence (yes this is a real thing!) and suicide attempt. All of these outcomes were dose dependent, meaning that the more an adolescent smokes, the more likely he or she is of experiencing these negative outcomes. Daily users had up to a 63% decreased rate of high school completion than those who had never used cannabis. Daily users also experienced an 18 fold increase in cannabis dependence, 8 fold increase in other illicit drug use, and 7 fold increase in rates of suicide attempt. We can infer from the data that limiting exposure to cannabis use may prevent, or minimally, decrease the risk of these negative outcomes. It goes without saying that we as healthcare providers and you as parents can partner together to deliver a message of caution with marijuana use in your children while providing education about healthy brain development and future successes!

Please fee free to contact me at Paramount Health Directions if you have any questions!  Please come visit our new remodeled office in Cherry Creek.

Elizabeth Huff, PMHNP-BC

Silins, E. et al. (2014). Young adult sequelae of adolescent cannabis use: an integrative analysis. The Lancet Psychiatry, 1(4), 286-293. doi:10.1016/S2215-0366(14)70307-4