WASHINGTON (BP) -- New evidence of marijuana's negative effect on intelligence and, yet, its increasing use by teenagers shows the need to educate young people and prevent the drug's legalization, a Southern Baptist ethics leader says.
"We must redouble our efforts to educate young people about the dangers of marijuana use." -- Barrett Duke
Individuals who use marijuana during their teenage years have an average drop in I.Q. of eight points and are vulnerable to mental health problems, according to a study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) released in August. This news followed a May report that showed marijuana use among teens has grown by 21 percent since 2008.
The PNAS study "adds additional support to the necessity of keeping marijuana out of the hands of adolescents," said Barrett Duke, vice president for public policy and research at the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. "The significant impact marijuana can have on the I.Q. of teens is alarming. We must redouble our efforts to educate young people about the dangers of marijuana use."
The study's release came as more states prepare to vote on whether to legalize marijuana use.
Voters in Colorado, Washington and Oregon will determine Nov. 6 if they want to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Arkansas and Massachusetts voters, meanwhile, will decide whether to legalize marijuana for medical use. Medical marijuana already is legal in 17 states and the District of Columbia.
Teens' use of marijuana will increase even more if it becomes legal, Duke said. Read More