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“But It’s Medical!”

New mouse study finds that Marijuana cause “Munchies” by triggering POMC neurons to release an opiate-endorphin which stimulates appetite.

(Source – Medline Plus 2/18/15)


A new study finds that marijuana causes munchies in mice, and researchers are pretty sure it causes munchies in humans, too.  First of all, d’uh.  Although I’m not a neuroscientist, I’m going to go out on a limb and say, “Yes, it does.” Should the research mice prove me wrong at a later date I will retract and redact my statement, but for now, let’s assume that stoned-Mickey and his pals are getting chubby because marijuana does, indeed, cause the munchies.

The larger question this brings up has to do with how we talk to teens about marijuana in the age of Legalized Medical Marijuana, or even Decriminalized (“Recreational”) Marijuana.  With states like Colorado and California chipping away at the old laws of prohibition, and other states like Vermont and Rhode Island moving forward with decriminalization and pathways to forming a medical marijuana industry, the conversation with teens about marijuana use is becoming more, not less, important.  Medical marijuana or boot-leg dope, home-grown or factory-farm harvested, designer strain or edible creation, the reality remains the same: pot just plain isn’t good for the developing brain of children and adolescents.  Period.  End of discussion.  

But my teen asks me, “If it’s so bad for me, why is it becoming legalized for medical or recreational use, and why can’t I smoke it?”


Great question – especially because if they’re asking you then they want to know your opinion, and more importantly, you’re now engaged in a conversation with your teen!  There are all kinds of reasons, and in the scope of this blog I’m not going to deconstruct the history of marijuana prohibition and the rise of the legalization and medical marijuana movement, or for that matter, the development of the ever-more-potent strains of pot that are now available (you can read more about that here), because,  among other reasons, it has absolutely nothing to do with how you answer your teen’s questions.  The answer is because it isn’t good for them, it isn’t good for their brains, it’s not going to inspire real friendships or help them hide from real problems, and because it’s probably against your house rules!  If you’re really stuck for an answer, you can also remind them that they don’t have a prescription for pot, and that the use of any drug they don’t have a prescription for is both illegal and also against the house rules.  

Parents, leverage current news stories to help jumpstart the conversation with your own family.  Remember, if you’re ready to start talking to your child about marijuana (or alcohol, or other drugs), chances are they’re already having that conversation with peers, and without your influence.  Don’t wait.  Start the conversations today.



About the Author

Jake WeldJake Weld holds a masters degree in education and has over twenty years of experience in traditional, LD, and therapeutic schools, adolescent and young adult programs, and conventional, wilderness, and residential settings. He has served as the Executive Director of a therapeutic boarding school, the Assistant Headmaster of a specialized LD boarding school, and as the Academic and Program Director of various schools and programs.  He is currently the Director of Admissions and Business Development for Mansfield Hall, a specialized college support program in Burlington, VT, and Madison, WI.