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The Effects of Cannabis with a Focus on the Adolescent and Fetal Brain


John Calvin Chatlos* and Theodore A. Petti   Pages 1 - 13 ( 13 )


Background: Knowledge of the effects of cannabis and of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) has increased greatly in recent years. This information has been brought into debates and decisions regarding the medical use of cannabis, and recreational use of cannabis and cannabinoid products, often with non-science-based conclusions. Health-related effects, especially those related to children, adolescents, and young adults, must be a critical part of the decisions regarding the legalization of cannabis, and current knowledge is a necessity.

Objective: The study aimed at providing an overview of cannabis use epidemiology in the United States. The second objective of the study was to provide current research information regarding the effects of cannabis use on decisions related to cannabis use and legalization, highlighting their effects on children, adolescents and young adults.

Method: Key features of cannabis-related health benefits and adverse effects have been identified to provide detailed knowledge base related to health, disease, and public welfare. Emphasis is given to the most current research findings andto adverse effects related to youth and young adults.

Results: The helpful and harmful effects of cannabis explain contradictory decisions for further legalization of cannabis products. Federal research prohibition has handicapped a timely science-based informed discussion. Concerns are expressed for the protection of adolescents and emerging adults, regardless of cannabis’ legal status.

Conclusion: The special vulnerabilities and needs of adolescents and emerging adults need to be considered in current and future discussions in public policy and legislation at all levels of government related to any further legalization of cannabis products.


Adolescents and emerging adults, cannabis’ legal status, Legalization, billion-dollar industry, Monitoring the Future (MTF), billion-dollar industry.


Rutgers University-University Behavioral Health Care , Rutgers University-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

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