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Forum Held To Educate Students on Effects of Marijuana

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- A special forum was held Wednesday night to focus on how marijuana effects a person’s development.

The event was sponsored by Drake University and Unity Point Health.

Dr. Kevin Hill, an addiction psychiatrist from Boston, spoke to students about the gap between the science of marijuana and what the public’s perception of the drug is.

“About one thing people can agree upon is there are significant negative impacts of marijuana on the developing brain. So we`re talking about the effects on cognition and mood and anxiety and especially for young people regular marijuana use causes many, many problems,” says Dr. Hill.

Dr. Hill along with other professionals in the field held the forum to help students understand the effects of the drug.

A recovering addict also spoke out as part of the forum.

Colin H. said he started using drugs and alcohol when he was 13 years old.

Now at 24, he's been sober for two and a half years.

He credits the 12 step program offered at the Powell Chemical Dependency Center at Iowa Lutheran for helping him turn his life around.

“The biggest thing is the relationships with my family that I thought I absolutely destroyed and burnt down. I've been able to rebuild those and I get to do things like go and hang out at my sister`s house after she had a child. Before when I was drinking and using they didn't want me around because I would show up drunk or high and now they do want me around to be an uncle and be a brother,” says Colin.

The speakers said a person's brain continues to develop into his or her late 20's and substance abuse can stunt that development.

For more information on the Powell Chemical Dependency Center and their services click here.


  • Marij A. Wanna

    “About one thing people can agree upon is there are significant negative impacts of marijuana on the developing brain.” Please, point out one place in the studies that state there is a negative effect on the brain, Dr. Hill. This is a blatant lie. There are no conclusions that actually point to a negative impact on the teen brain, only conclusions that claim the need for further research on the subject.

  • revraygreen (@revraygreen)

    “Before when I was drinking and using they didn’t want me around because I would show up drunk or high and now they do want me around to be an uncle and be a brother,” says Colin.” – Where was Steve “One Joint Equals a Keg” Lukan ? so this was about the effects of alcohol and other drugs also, not just marijuana. Next.

  • dan

    I know some people that seem to do their own research. They flunked out of math in high school but if you want to know how many grams are in an oz. , they know that answer. Their answer is “It’s just POT”, and pot never hurt them. But they seem to not work, get food stamps and some SSI and still live with their parents, and they are well into their 50’s. They can smell a big fattie being lit up at 20 miles away. And they are convinced they need to research on how to build a bigger bong. Ok so pot never hurt anybody using it…… how bout the ones around you?

    • GUEST

      While I can see where you would draw that conclusion from your few specific examples you have had the chance to observe I happen to know many people that smoked when they were kids and some that still do as adults and yet do not live off of ssi and gov. assistance to knock the drug for those you’ve seen makes no sense as they would likely be in the same position pot or not.

      • BrutallyHonest

        Agreed, President Osama admitted to smoking pot, didnt seem to hurt his chances at being president. Now, im not saying he is the brightest crayon in the box either HAHAHAHA!!

    • Jason Schnetzer Sr.

      Dan Maybe you need new friends. I do not believe you know many people whom use Cannabis, millions in America went to work today and will use Cannabis tonight. We need them to pay for your friends SSI.
      I hope at the forum they discussed that we have never had a death nor any health epidemic related to Cannabis.
      In Addition I would appreciate if the forum would have touched on the 24 Billion Six Hundred Fifty Million Dollars we spent Last Year on Detaining Non-Violent Cannabis offenders. This above number does not represent the millions of those lives directly damaged to the current Cannabis scheduling.

    • natasha


      i have smoked “pot” (as you call it) since the age of 21. in addition to enjoying it recreationally (rather than the far more damaging alcohol), I also now use it as treatment for two very serious medical conditions. it has, in fact, NOT hurt me or anyone around me. in fact, marijuana has allowed me to treat my health problems without the use of heavy pharmaceuticals and painkillers. in addition, i no longer drink alcohol–a substance that is currently legal, yet far more damaging than marijuana. i am now 29 and am about to earn my master’s degree from a theological school. i have worked for an attorney general, a governor, and as a manager at a national nonprofit. i am currently working to start my own business. i am far from the lazy bum you describe in your thread. before you develop stereotypes about people, perhaps you should actually know what you are talking about. the people i know who smoke “pot” are some of the brightest, hardest working, most talented people i have ever met.

  • BrutallyHonest

    I would venture to say that alcohol is more dangerous. You CAN overdose on alcohol, not pot. Im am pretty positive that alcohol is also much worse on your health. Not syaing pot, alcohol, cigarettes ect are the healthiest things you can do, but i would rather have my kid smoke a joint than drink alcohol if they were going to do one or the other. Would prefer they didnt do either, but hey after 18 years of age all you can do is try to advise and guide them.

  • Matthew

    Cannabis is far less addictive than alot of the narcotics that people are prescribed daily, and very effective at treating all kinds of ailments. It can be abused, just like prescrition meds. Yet, It is a social injustice to not allow cannabis as an option for treatment, not just for epeilepsy. It’s a plant people!! Where do you think all those pills you’re ingesting are derived from?? Wake up and educate yourselves, please!!

  • John Hunter Player

    The currents of history ebb and flow. But over time, they flow toward freedom – more people in every corner of the earth standing up and reaching to claim those rights that are universal, and that’s why, in the end, our ideals are stronger, and that’s why, in the end, our ideals will win. Dignity will win, because every human being is born equal, with free will and inalienable rights, and any regime or system of government that tries to deny these rights will ultimately fail and countries that uphold them will only grow stronger. Justice will win, because might does not make right. And the only path to lasting peace is when people know that their dignity will be respected and that their rights will be upheld. And citizens, like nations, will never settle for a world where the big are allowed to bully the small. Sooner or later, they fight back. (Applause.) Democracy will win, because a government’s legitimacy can only come from citizens. Because in this age of information and empowerment, people want more control over their lives, not less. And because more than any other form of government ever devised, only democracy, rooted in the sanctity of the individual, can deliver real progress. And freedom will win – not because it’s inevitable, not because it is ordained, but because these basic human yearnings for dignity and justice and democracy do not go away. They can be suppressed, at times they can be silenced, but they burn in every human heart, in a place where no regime can ever reach, a light that no army can ever extinguish. And so long as free peoples summon the confidence and the courage and the will to defend the values that we cherish, then freedom will always be stronger and our ideas will always prevail, no matter what.

  • jajaeppa

    So. .. no mention of the fact that states that gave legal medicinal use of marijuana have seen a25 percent decrease in overdose death caused by pain meds. No reports of any facts. Just people talking.

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