How Does Marijuana Affect the Teenage Brain?
While a teen’s brain develops throughout adolescence, the rational part of it doesn’t fully develop until he or she is twenty-five years old. Because of this, marijuana use during adolescence is especially damaging. A single joint won’t harm an adult, but repeated marijuana use can set the stage for lifelong health issues. Researchers are trying to make sense of the data and continue research, but there are practical limitations. renew medical marijuana card ny state
The adolescent brain is uniquely sensitive to the psychoactive chemical THC. It is thought that genetic variation makes some teens more sensitive to marijuana. While the exact mechanisms of this are unknown, it appears that marijuana can cause certain brain structures to undergo structural or functional changes in the brain. Drug use during adolescence is also associated with changes in the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in decision-making and complex behavior.
In addition to the behavioral changes, regular marijuana users also develop abnormalities in their brains. A study in which heavy marijuana users reported smoking at least five times a day and more than 2,500 times in their lifetime showed that marijuana smoking affected the white matter in their brains. The study also found a link between changes in white matter and higher impulsivity in people who started smoking before age 16.
In a recent study conducted at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, scientists found that teens who started smoking pot regularly before the age of 17 had an increased risk of suicide. It also affected their emotional self-control. According to the research, marijuana may also impair the maturation of these areas. The researchers noted that more research is needed before the effects of marijuana can be determined, but it’s important to note that cannabis does not necessarily impair the development of the brain.
Another study compared the gray matter volumes of adolescent cannabis users with those of non-users. The researchers found that cannabis users had lower brain volume in the orbitofrontal cortex, which was a predictive factor of initiation of cannabis use by 16 years of age. This suggests that structural abnormalities may play a role in the development of adolescence. If the study confirms these findings, it may be time to develop an addiction treatment program for teenagers.
While the effects of cannabis on the teen brain are still unknown, there are some promising results. Some research has suggested that marijuana may help with chemotherapy nausea and seizure disorders. Because of the chemical in marijuana, cannabidiol, which does not cause mind-altering effects, marijuana may be helpful for those with various medical conditions. As society’s attitudes towards marijuana change, more research is necessary to find out the long-term consequences of marijuana use on the brain.
Despite a lack of conclusive evidence, it’s important to note that marijuana is the second most common drug used by adolescents. Studies have shown that heavy marijuana users have significant disadvantages in terms of macrostructural brain development and neurocognitive performance. Additionally, they also have smaller hippocampuses and amygdala, which are crucial for memory and emotional regulation. In addition, the effects of marijuana on adolescent brain development may be worsened by a history of pre-existing medical conditions. It is important to note that future research should focus on prospective studies as well as disentangling pre-existing effects and understanding the interaction between marijuana and other commonly abused drugs.