Fusion’s Chief Cannabis Correspondent, Ryan Nerz, interviews Dr. Paula Riggs, the Director of the Division of Substance Dependence at the University of Colorado. Dr. Riggs has pioneered a program to help Denver-area high school students with substance abuse problems, including marijuana abuse.

Dr. Riggs contends that since the legalization of medical marijuana in Colorado in 2009, teenage use and abuse of cannabis has soared. Because treatment is traditionally limited to kids who enter the juvenile justice system, most of the teens who need help with marijuana dependence issues are not getting help…until now.

Dr. Riggs explains that marijuana abuse is neurotoxic to the developing brain, and says it’s associated with a 6-8 point drop in IQ, when the abusers become adults.

Credit: Ryan Nerz, Omar Michaud and Darwin Phillips