The Downside of High: Documentary Review (Airs Thurs on CBC)
The Art of Parenting
I'm glad I decided to tune in because the documentary provides some important information that parents and kids should know.
The Downside of High tells the story of three young people from British Columbia who, along with their doctors, believe that their mental illness (schizophrenia or bipolar disorder) was triggered by marijuana use.
As the documentary points out, scientists are buying into that theory, too. They believe that while most people who light up a joint will enjoy a pleasant buzz, an unfortunate few will be sent into a state of psychosis. And teenagers are at particular risk. (If you use marijuana before the age of 16, you are four times as likely to become schizophrenic.)
Today's super-potent pot may be too blame. THC levels in marijuana have increased dramatically in recent decades. In the 1960s, THC levels averaged 1 to 3 percent. Today, those levels average 18 to 25 percent.
Within the next five to ten years, it may be possible to develop a genetic test identify those kids who should never smoke pot, due to the increased risk of marijuana triggering an episode of psychosis. In the meantime, we can make our teens aware of the factors that increase the risk of such an episode:
History of psychosis
Family history of psychosis
Using other drugs
Difficulty relating to others
Living in an urban area
To learn more about this issue, tune into The Downside of High. Better yet, watch it with your kids so that you can talk about what you learn and how they might apply this new information to their lives.
Premiering: Thursday January 28, 2010 at 8 pm on CBC-TV
Repeating: Thursday February 4, 2010 at 10 pm ET/PT on CBC News Network