Stories about: Elissa Weitzman

Keeping an eye on teen marijuana use

teens pot adolescents marijuana surveillance
(Photographee.eu/Shutterstock)

With laws at least partially legalizing marijuana in 23 states and the District of Columbia, it’s now a big business. What are the public health consequences of freely available weed — both acute and long-term? Are we making a big mistake here?

Our sister blog Vector reports that Sharon Levy, MD, MPH, of Boston Children’s Hospital’s Division of Developmental Medicine and Elissa Weitzman, ScD, MSc, of the hospital’s Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine, both of whom are concerned about potential harms to adolescents, recently argued in JAMA Pediatrics for a real-time marijuana surveillance system that could “monitor harms to youth from marijuana — in the context of legalization and fast-paced expansion of a commercial marijuana market.”

Learn about Levy and Weitzmann’s suggestions for beefing up marijuana surveillance on Vector.

Read Full Story | Leave a Comment

Think chronically ill teens aren’t drinking or using marijuana? Think again.

teen drinking marijuana chronic illness substance use
(Snap2Art/Shutterstock)

The teenage years are prime time for experimenting with risky behaviors. One might assume that for teens growing up with a chronic disease like diabetes or cystic fibrosis, that wouldn’t be the case since alcohol can cause very serious problems for these kids.

But if Boston Children’s Hospital’s Elissa Weitzman, ScD, MSc, and Sharon Levy, MD, MPH, are right, that assumption could be completely wrong. According to a recent study the pair published in Pediatrics, chronically ill teens do exhibit risks for alcohol and marijuana use, and at levels similar to those reported for healthy youth. Those behaviors carry all the usual risks related to teen substance use (e.g., accident, injury), as well as unique risks related to their condition and its treatment.

Their study represents one of the first forays into understanding how chronically ill teens navigate the experience of growing up.

“Unprecedented numbers of young people are growing up with a chronic disease,” says Weitzman, who works in the hospital’s Division of Adolescent Medicine. “But by and large, while there are studies of chronic disease and studies of teen risk behaviors, little has been done to understand teen risk behaviors in the context of chronic disease.” …Read More

Read Full Story | 1 Comment | Leave a Comment