COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Growing popularity over the medical and recreational use of marijuana has created changes to state laws and cultural outlooks on the drug in recent years according to new research and local experts.
The "holiday" to some may see increasing popularity as public opinion on marijuana starts to shift. However, local drug addiction experts say parents should be cautious if they find out their child or teen is getting in on the action.
"A lot of people in the community would maybe think that's a little cliche," said Rebecca Watkins with the Columbus drug-addiction center Bradford Health Services.
Bradford Health Services experts say cliche aside, research supports it.
"Everybody that smokes marijuana may not do any other illicit drug or prescription pills or anything of that nature, however when we look at people that have done other illicit drugs or prescription pills, they all start with smoking weed," said Watkins.
While popularity continues to climb, experts say parents need to be on the lookout. Recreational usage is still illegal in Georgia and Alabama, and could have negative health effects.
"Their brains aren't fully developed until their early 20's and when you start smoking marijuana before the adult threshold, then yes it is very harmful and can effect the brain development," said Watkins.