First Uses of Marijuana Trigger Permanent Brain Changes
One or two hits of cannabis in any form does permanently affect the brain structure of young people. New studies by University of Vermont psychiatrists looked at brain imaging for 46 teens experiencing cannabis for the first time and compared their brains with those of with non-users.
The data reveals greater gray matter volumes in cannabis-binding zones of the brains in teens who used marijuana only once or twice by age 14. The differences occur in the emotion-processing amygdala and in the memory processing hippocampus.
The researchers point out the teens’ brains naturally thin during adolescence in a type of pruning or refinement process. Even a joint or two of marijuana may prevent this vital process from occurring.
The increasing legalization of marijuana means more of us and our kids will have access to it. Studies like this should make us pause and ask if that’s a good thing.
cannabis, marijuana, brain change, teen drug use, emotion, memory, health news, health tips
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Catherine Orr, Philip Spechler, Hugh Garavan, etal. Grey Matter Volume Differences Associated with Extremely Low Levels of Cannabis Use in Adolescence. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2019; 3375-17 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3375-17.2018 - 29 days ago