Skip to comments.Brain changes linked to teen cannabis use, Aussie study finds
Posted on 12/18/2011 5:35:00 PM PST by Tarantulas
Brain abnormalities that make teenagers more likely to smoke cannabis have been identified for the first time by Australian scientists.
Their study of more than 100 Melbourne teens also confirmed that cannabis harms the brain, adding weight to a raft of previous research on damage caused by long-term use of the drug.
Researchers from Monash and Melbourne universities took high-tech images of the brains of 155 primary school students when they were 12.
Four years later when they reached their milestone 16th birthday, the students were asked whether they had used cannabis.
Of 121 who responded, 28 admitted to using the drug.
When the researchers checked the scans taken when those students were 12, they found a part of the frontal lobe area in their brains was smaller than those in teens who steered clear of cannabis.
Lead researcher Professor Lubman, of Monash University, said the students with abnormalities in the orbitofrontal cortex - the brain region involved in memory, reward and decision making - were more prone to using cannabis.
"What we found is that only the orbitofrontal cortex predicted later cannabis use, suggesting that this particular part of the frontal lobe increases an adolescent's vulnerability to cannabis use," he said.
"However we also found no differences in brain volume in other parts of the brain that we have shown to be abnormal in long-term heavy cannabis users, confirming for the first time, that cannabis use is neurotoxic to these brain areas in humans."
Previous studies have shown that long-term heavy cannabis use harms the brain.
Adolescent users have been found to have difficulties with paying attention, solving problems and with their memory.
However the study is the first to examine whether existing brain abnormalities have a role in whether teens start using cannabis.
It was published online by the journal Biological Psychiatry.
like...a lot of people...say...that pot m a kes you lose your memory...
Doesn’t make you lose your memory, I think that it makes everything in your brain fire slower. I used to think pot was harmless, but the more I see potheads that I’ve known for years just acting without common sense, and stupidity I can’t help but think that pot really is bad, worse than alcohol.
I’ve never liked pot, and for that I am grateful.
I’ve posted about here at FR about studies done over decades by the Swiss and Swedish governments that demonstrate the brain damage caused by teenage use of marijuana.
The studies done by those two nations involved military personnel who had used marijuana in their early teens, and how it affected them years later. There was a 600% chance of developing schizophrenia later in life by those who had used marijuana at age 13-14.
Counting the seconds until the FReeDopers show up.
NOW WE KNOW! What is wrong with us. And here we were blaming it on our pet tapeworm, Obiwan.
I was going to say that, but you said it SO much better with pictures and everything.
I saw a show recently detailing the short term effects of pot on the brain. It inhibits the portion of the brain that transfers short term memory to long term memory. It also inhibits the portion of the brain that tells your stomach you are full.
Difference between effects of alcohol and cannabis:
A drunk driver will blow right through a stop sign.
A stoned driver will sit there and wait for it to turn green.
FWIW, I saw some real potheads in Vietnam. So nice to learn they haven’t changed because marijuana doesn’t change you, you’re just the same as you always were.
Age fifteen or thereabouts.
A couple of things:
1) I have no doubt that marijuana can damage the brain development of kids, but this study is worthless from a scientific perspective. A survey of 121 students, then they accepted at face value which ones admitted to using, as if none of the others would lie? Gosh, no chance of bad data there. Maybe the smaller frontal lobe area of the kids who admitted to using is the thing that made them tell the truth.
2) The study doesn’t differentiate between frequencies of usage. For example, did these kids use once in a few years? A few times in a few years? Or were they using everyday?
3) I also have no doubt that a great many substances will harm kids during their development, to include alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs, and household chemicals.
As in, paranoid schizophrenia?
Physical proof that Marajuana not only damages the brain, but is also addicting. I can hear the howls of denial already winding up.
When I was a teen nearly everyone at least tried pot, it was so common in my high school people would smoke it in the restrooms between class and teachers would come in and just ignore those that were smoking pot. There were some that didn’t try it or use it again after trying it, some that became occasional users and a few that became dedicated to smoking pot and did it every chance they got.
It has been interesting to see those people in the years since- I have noticed no effect on those that were occasional users, but the dedicated pot smokers obviously had brain damage that was noticable after only a couple of years. Until I saw the change in the people I knew so well I thought pot was harmless. It is not harmless and I believe it is far worse than alcohol. There may be something to the idea that those that are prone to be dedicated pot smokers having different brains or chemistry/whatever to begin with, but I saw people that didn’t seem to have issues until they smoked it a while so have to believe their mental issues now are a result of using pot so much.
Like I wonder if the scientists took into account the study was done in Australia where everyone is upside down all the time. That has to effect brain chemistry man.
“they found a part of the frontal lobe area in their brains was smaller...”
Because the extra space was filled up with nachos, cheetos and pizza grease.
“Physical proof that Marajuana not only damages the brain, but is also addicting. I can hear the howls of denial already winding up.”
I guess alcohol is not addicting?
” Physical proof that Marajuana not only damages the brain, but is also addicting. I can hear the howls of denial already winding up.
I guess alcohol is not addicting?”
I’ll drink to that....