First time cannabis smokers are starting younger according to the latest report from the Mental Health Council of Australia.
Average age of first time cannabis users is now 14.9 years old.
A growing body of medical research links cannabis use with increased risk of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and psychosis.
These risks are increased further if the cannabis users family has a history of mental illness.
The risks are further increased again if the first time cannabis user begins using at a young age when brain development is at crucial stages.
(Source: The Melbourne Age, 14 December 2006)
Teenage brain development at age 15 will increase the risk of first time cannabis users having mental illnesses at a later time.
At age 15 the teenage brain is highly susceptible to damage from the toxins in cannabis due to its immaturity.
A 15 year old teenager is also likely to be using other drugs so the effect on the adolescent from poly drug use is likely to be compounded.
Impaired brain function from cannabis use as a teenager is likely to lead to failure at school and not finding a job.
As well as highlighting the massive dangers from the cannabis toxins to teenagers there needs to be comprehensive detoxification and rehabilitation programs available to limit the potential for future mental illnesses before they occur.
Damage to teenage brains because of younger first time cannabis use is entirely preventable by rehabilitating them into a drug free life.