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Program Information
outFarpress presents
Just Say Wait!
Regular Show
Youth radio, Mendocino County, Public Affairs, youth reaction to drug education, cannabis, adolescent brains, Mendocino County, CA
 Dan Roberts  Contact Contributor
YouthSpeaksOut! is a monthly show in Mendocino County CA hosted by high school students. 58 minutes
Today's topic is how students respond to drug education. After a presentation by Ralph Cantor on marijuana, alcohol, and the developing brain, I interviewed students for their reactions. What did they learn? Is it important? What do they now know that their parents do not know? Do they consider marijuana use in high school a problem? I found they had interesting insights into drugs in the schools and drug education. This is prerecorded and not have a call-in section.
In early April, Ralph Cantor spoke to students at Laytonville High School about cannabis and alcohol and how they affect the adolescent brain. Almost all students learned new information about their developing brains and personalities. Ralph explained what the neurotransmitter dopamine is, how it changes our experiences, and ways to trigger its release in the brain. He talked about how the adolescent brain is pruned and hard-wired, and that the release of dopamine by the use of THC is a shortcut that can inhibit developing skills and passions.
He described that the problem with educating people about marijuana is that there are strong biases- some people treat it as all good and some treat it as all bad. The fact that most people have an agenda when expressing their beliefs about weed has made the subject more complex. And has left most people in the dark about how the substance actually works. The truth is that the context of its use determines whether or not it is appropriate. Because of the illegality and profitability of marijuana, the general public is rather uneducated as to how it scientifically works in the brains of youth and adults. The discussion has tended to be whether it is good or bad- not how it alters consciousness.
Ralph also talked about how other substances affect the brain. He explained how most drugs could be categorized as either uppers, downers, or all-arounders. And that a number of youth practice cross-fading which is using multiple substances at the same time. He showed how alcohol anesthetizes the brain starting on the outside, and how more alcohol can lead to impaired motor function and ultimately a shutdown of the central nervous system.
Ralph made it clear that he understands why people want to experience the effects of cannabis, and that the medicinal properties are finally being accepted as valuable in treating certain ailments. The legalization of cannabis in numerous states will lead to further research and understanding of how the plant can benefit people. But it is also important to understand how the dopamine-releasing effect can limit skill and personality development among the youth. Ralphs message to youth is Just say wait.
After Ralphs presentation, some students were asked to comment on what they experienced in the class. And how they saw the role of marijuana in their community. Marijuana production has been a primary source of income for many people in Mendocino county for decades. The producer of this show, Dan Roberts, recorded the students comments in a room adjacent to the gym, and apologizes for the background noises. We will listen to those recordings now. Then we will add our comments on how the presentation may have effected the high school community three weeks later

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00:58:00 1 May 7, 2017
Mendocino County, California
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00:58:00 1 May 7, 2017
Mendocino County, California
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