Cannabis inflicts long-term damage on teenage brains
According to a research that lasted for 4 years, it has been discovered that cannabis use by teenagers lead to long lasting effects. These effects includes struggling with reasoning, memory and inhibition. The research was led by the university of Montreal in Canada and was conducted on over 3,800 Canadian teenagers between the 7th and 10th grade.
The teenagers were tested in 4 cognitive domains and the cannabis users performed horribly in cognitive domain tests.
The domains are:
Using a zero to five scale, they were also asked to grade their cannabis use. Zero represented never while five represented an everyday use.
It was also discovered that using the drug for one year and discontinuing (or reducing use in some cases) use the next year didn’t stop the brain damage induced by cannabis use to occur. They developed impaired inhibitory control and working memory.
Although past studies has often showed a relationship between cannabis misuse with impaired learning, attention, decision making and reduced academic performance, the Montreal research team reported that they’re the first to show the casual and lasting effects of cannabis on the cognitive development of teens.
While these damaging effects will not turn up at first use, they will after a prolong use and will be around for a while.
As the years went by, the number of teens who had never used cannabis decreased from 95.4 to 70 percent in the last year, while the number of teens who used cannabis increased from 0.37 to 2 percent.
Over the years, the changes in the cognitive domains were monitored yearly and the teens were graded on tests using an advanced analytical model.
These tests included finishing a sequence of puzzles with increased difficulty, reproducing a pattern you learnt 30 minutes ago, and finding a phone from a group of images.
According to the senior author and investigator Dr Patricia Conrod, the effects of alcohol usage is far less when compared to the effects of pot use.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention CDC reported last month about the growing concern of teens vaping cannabis.
The use of e-cigarettes are so popular that one-third of highschool students and a quarter of middle school students had areeady used them as of 2016, the report also stated.
Concordia University in Montreal did a study too on the effects of cannabis and it was found that by age 20, those who started using the drug at an early age of 15 and below would suffer from respiratory problems and cognitive impairment.
The University of Montreal in another study in 2017 discovered that drop out rate and poor cognitive test was higher in cannabis users who started using the drug as early as 14 than non-users.
For Dr Conrod, there is still more to know about the effects of cannabis use. She and her team wishes to know if these effects will be pronounced in adults whose brain are mature already. Another area they seek to research in is if there’s a sensitivity difference among gender and how much impact the sensitivity will produce.