Cannabis Causes Long-Term Damage to Teen Brains

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The research team recruited almost 4,000 teenagers from over thirty different Canadian schools to track them for a period of four years.

Skills, memory and behaviour are all negatively affected by using cannabis, the study by Canadian scientists found, and the effects were worse than that of drinking.

Teenagers using cannabis are causing long-lasting damage to their developing brains, a Canadian study suggests.

"Our study is unique in that it followed a large sample of high school students using cognitive and substance-use measures".

"It will be important to conduct similar analyses with this cohort or similar cohorts as they transition to young adulthood when alcohol and cannabis use become more severe", Dr. Conrod remarks.

Among the teens in the study, 28 percent admitted to at least some marijuana use, and 75 percent said they used alcohol at least occasionally.

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Conrod said, 'Further increases in cannabis use, but not alcohol consumption, showed additional concurrent and lagged effects on cognitive functions, such as perceptual reasoning, memory recall, working memory and inhibitory control.

But, on the contrary, the research uncovered greater increases in errors in cognitive tests on the teenagers using weed - while they were ingesting ganja and after they had stopped.

It's "toxic" effect on the developing brain also significantly impairs inhibitory control, which the authors say might explain why early cannabis use is a risk factor for other addictions.

Drinking alcohol and taking drugs, such as cannabis, at a young age is known to cause problems with cognitive abilities such as learning, attention and decision-making as well as academic performance at school.

She added that the findings highlight the importance of drug prevention programs, BBC News reported.

The National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016 showed 35 per cent people aged 14 or older in Australia used cannabis in their lifetime (6.9 million), while 10.4 per cent has used the drug in the last 12 months. According to Professor Conrod, addiction to this drug could be immediate, and the cannabis consumption is linked to the onset of psychotic illnesses, especially in teenagers.

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