Q&A – Is Marijuana Harmless for Your Son?

My son has recently begun running around with some tough kids who have introduced him to marijuana. He doesn't deny what he is doing because he says it is harmless. Can you give me the facts?

Your son has been given some very bad information that is being passed around by those who are promoting the legalization of marijuana. It is a lie. Dr. Harold Voth, the senior psychiatrist for the Menninger Foundation in Topeka, Kansas, has set the record straight.

He said, first, that five marijuana cigarettes have the same cancer-causing capacity as one hundred and twelve conventional cigarettes. Second, the part of the brain that allows a person to focus, concentrate, create, learn, and conceptualize at an advanced level is still growing during the teenage years. Continuous use of marijuana over a period of time will retard the normal growth of those brain cells. Third, a study conducted at Columbia University revealed that female marijuana smokers suffer a sharp increase in damage to DNA, the genetic code. It was also found that reproductive eggs are especially vulnerable to damage by marijuana. Fourth, a second Columbia University study found that people who smoked a single marijuana cigarette every other day for one year had a white blood cell count that was 39 percent lower than normal, thus damaging the immune system and making the user far more susceptible to infection and sickness. Smoking marijuana is a dangerous hobby.

I doubt if your son will be satisfied with this answer, even though you should share it with him. His motivation is probably related more to peer pressure than to his belief in the harmlessness of marijuana. The danger is that he will "graduate" from pot to something harder and more addictive. If I were you, I would bring all my energies to bear on getting my son away from the gang he is now running with, even if it required us to move. He is apparently at a critical juncture in his life.

Book: Bringing Up Boys

By Dr. James Dobson

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