Teens touting florescent posters printed with “Love Your Brain” met MEGA Brain at a recent New York event designed to rebrand April 20th—often touted in popular culture as a day to smoke marijuana—as a day to promote a healthy brain.
MEGA Brain took center stage at the “Healthy Teen Brain Day” in Westchester, New York, where teens toured the MEGA exhibit, discovering how the drug can impair different parts of the brain. Marijuana impacts brain parts including the hippocampus, resulting in poorer memory, and the amygdala, where it can cause increased anxiety and paranoia. After completing a “brainy” scavenger hunt through MEGA Brain, teens took home a gold brain-shaped stress ball as a prize.
“It’s a really good idea for people to know the effects of drugs on the brain so we can maintain it for a healthier lifestyle,” said one teen at the event. Another teen aspires to get a college scholarship for track and go to the Olympics one day. “Smoking weed really is not going to help me,” he said.
Today’s teens are less likely to view marijuana as harmful, yet research from the American College of Pediatricians shows the drug can cause changes in brain structure at a critical time in a child’s development, their teenage years.
The event was held at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network, and celebrated teens who choose to abstain from the drug. “We don’t have to be followers,” said another teen during the event. “We make our own decisions.” Read more about MEGA Brain.