Amarah's Corner: Pediatrictian addressess marijuana effects

Hi! My name is Amarah. Kids are important to me, and they’re important to Jesus, too.

In Matthew 18:10 KJV, Jesus said, “Take heed that ye despise not (hurt or be mean to) one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”

“Kids like me” are kids whose parents are drug addicts, and alcoholics; kids who have suffered, or who are suffering, abuse and neglect on multiple levels; and kids who are victims of bullying.

Hey kids like me, this week Dr. Svetlana Bresnitz, pediatrician, answered some important questions about marijuana and e-cigs. Dr. Bresnitz was my and my baby sister, Ava’s, first doctor in Alamosa. She is awesome! I love Dr. Bresnitz and I highly recommend her for children! She was born in Slovakia and has lived in Alamosa for 21+ years. I asked what she wanted to be when she grew up: “I wanted to be a pediatrician when I grew up because I liked my own pediatrician and the clinic we had in town. It was squeaky white, clean and neat!”

Effects of Marijuana and E-Cigarettes
“Several very harmful substances are legal. Just because a substance is legal, doesn’t mean it is safe. Alcohol and tobacco have been legal for a long time. Marijuana is becoming legal in more and more states. This creates an environment where marijuana is increasingly seen as acceptable, safe, or therapeutic. Legalization goes hand in hand with decrease in perceived risk and increase in use. But, marijuana is 3-5 times stronger than it used to be even a decade ago. The concentration of psychoactive substance, THC, has increased from about 4 to 14 percent. This has increased the risk of adverse effects and the addiction potential.”

What are the general effects of marijuana? “Evidence clearly shows that marijuana is an addictive substance. Marijuana cannabinoids can increase appetite, and decrease nausea, vomiting, and neuropathic pain. Their adverse effects are dizziness, dysphoria, clouded mind, impaired short term memory, decreased attention span, concentration and problem solving skills, which all harm learning. They also impair motor control, coordination, judgement, and reaction time, all of which contribute to unintentional injury and death. In addition, marijuana use is associated with higher rates of depression and psychosis.”

If a woman is pregnant and smokes marijuana does it hurt the baby? “Marijuana use in pregnancy leads to fetal growth retardation and long term consequences such as deficits in learning, memory, attention and other executive functions. Tobacco or nicotine can have major effects on early neurodevelopment. Infants born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy have reduced weight, length and head circumference and exhibit impulsivity, hyperactivity and significant impairments in cognitive functioning.”

Is a child affected if the parent smokes marijuana? “Children become second hand marijuana smokers if they grow up in a household where the parent(s) smokes marijuana. Studies from many children’s hospitals report finding marijuana in kids systems. A lot of these children are admitted for breathing difficulties like coughing, wheezing, and decreased oxygen. Smoking any substance decreases lung function and causes many illnesses, including cancers.”

What about teens smoking marijuana? “The adolescent brain is still developing until the mid-20’s. Smoking anything, including marijuana, has negative effects on intellect, and causes deficits in cognition which do not go away when use is discontinued.”

What about e-cigarettes? “Tobacco products contain more than 4,000 chemicals like tar and carbon monoxide. Many of them are carcinogens. One of these chemicals is nicotine, a major contributor to the development of dependence and addiction. E-cigarettes are newer tobacco products. Flavored e-cigarettes produce toxic vapors. Heating flavored cigarette liquids produces vapors with large amounts of formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acrolein. Even one puff exposes the smoker to unacceptably dangerous levels of these aldehydes.”

Thank you Dr. Bresnitz! And thank you for reading my column. Please send questions or comments to me in care of the Courier, [email protected] or write to me at Amarah’s Childrens Foundation “Kids Like Me” P.O. Box 354, Alamosa, CO 81101, or call (719) 480-4624, leave a message, and someone will return your call. If you know a kid like me, or parent who is an addict, or alcoholic, please tell him or her about “Amarah’s Corner, Kids Like Me” in the Valley Courier newspaper and tell them to contact me, or you can contact me on their behalf. If you know a kid like me, or parent, who doesn’t have a Bible, but wants one, please, contact me and I will make sure he or she gets a Bible of their very own, “…and all the earth may know there is a God…” (1 Samuel 17:46, KJV).

My goal is to help kids like me, and I want to help their parents, too. Until next time, remember, Jesus Loves You, and JESUS IS LORD!