Morgan A McCormick and Anantha Shekhar
With the changing attitudes towards the legality of marijuana in the United States (US), there has been an abundance of rhetoric surrounding the potential societal effects of decriminalized cannabis use. These statements vary in degree from visions of the downfall of our moral and productive civilization, to the elimination of drug crime and a windfall of economic growth. From either side of this divisive issue, there has been a strongly expressed concern of the unknown consequences of a more readily available cannabis supply to the adolescent population, followed by what measures should be taken to curtail this risk. Given this country's unique relationship with mindaltering substances, a great deal of comparisons have been made with alcohol, as it is also a substance of recreation as well as abuse that is currently legal but has also gone through a period of prohibition. This paper looks to examine the validity of this comparison, as well as reviews the current research on the effects of early cannabis use on the adolescent brain.