Recently about 200 community members attended a marijuana and vaping educational forum at the Compass Church in Naperville.
The educational event was hosted by KidsMatter, and focused on the risks associated with marijuana and vaping, particularly with teens and young adults.
How Weed Can Affect The Brain
Several panelists spoke during the event, including Aaron Weiner, the director of addiction services at Linden Oaks Behavioral Health. He said smoking marijuana before the age of 25 can affect the brain’s hippocampus, which is associated with learning and memory and the frontal cortex, which affects a person’s personality.
“These are not things that grow back. This isn’t like you get a scab and it comes back,” said Weiner. “When you’re growing up your brain grows in some places and inaudible in others. And if you introduce a chemical that changes that brain development you don’t get to have that back.”
Weiner also mentioned that marijuana’s potency, has gone up in the last 20 years with the increase in its THC content.
The panelists also discussed vaping and reasons why it has become prevalent with youth. One is the name of vaping flavors like “Blueberry Cheesecake”, which is marketed toward young people.
At the time of this story a total of 2,668 hospitalized e-cigarette, or vaping cases have been reported to the CDC, with ages ranging from as young as 15 to 75 years.
The panelists said in order for the epidemic to slow down, teens and young adults will need to stop glorifying vaping on social media.
KidsMatter’s next education series topic will be on stress and anxiety.
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