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Brain changes linked to teen cannabis use, Aussie study finds
Herald Sun ^ | December 15, 2011 | Herald Sun

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.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: dope; marijuana; pot; potheads
Marijuana - it makes you respond to "Hey, stupid!" ten seconds slower.
1 posted on 12/18/2011 5:35:05 PM PST by Tarantulas
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To: Tarantulas

like...a lot of people...say...that pot m a kes you lose your memory...


2 posted on 12/18/2011 5:37:23 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (omg - obama must go!)
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To: the invisib1e hand

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.


3 posted on 12/18/2011 5:40:49 PM PST by IamCenny
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To: Tarantulas

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.


4 posted on 12/18/2011 5:41:24 PM PST by SatinDoll (NO FOREIGN NATIONALS AS U.S.A. PRESIDENT)
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To: SatinDoll
Are you sure it doesn't also make you paranoid?

Counting the seconds until the FReeDopers show up.

5 posted on 12/18/2011 5:53:46 PM PST by USNBandit (sarcasm engaged at all times)
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To: SatinDoll

NOW WE KNOW! What is wrong with us. And here we were blaming it on our pet tapeworm, Obiwan.


6 posted on 12/18/2011 5:56:00 PM PST by bigheadfred (MERRY CHRISTMAS)
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To: Tarantulas

"Wait....whut?"

7 posted on 12/18/2011 5:56:16 PM PST by dfwgator
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To: dfwgator

I was going to say that, but you said it SO much better with pictures and everything.

;-)


8 posted on 12/18/2011 5:58:20 PM PST by Big Giant Head (Two years no AV, no viruses, computer runs great!)
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To: IamCenny
Doesn’t make you lose your memory,

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.

9 posted on 12/18/2011 6:00:52 PM PST by Hugin ("Most time a man'll tell you his bad intentions if you listen and let yourself hear"--Open Range)
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To: Tarantulas

10 posted on 12/18/2011 6:03:14 PM PST by reagan_fanatic (A communist is just a liberal in a hurry)
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To: USNBandit

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.


11 posted on 12/18/2011 6:12:19 PM PST by elcid1970 ("Deport all Muslims. Nuke Mecca now. Death to Islam means freedom for all mankind.")
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To: Tarantulas

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.


12 posted on 12/18/2011 6:16:35 PM PST by fr_freak
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To: USNBandit

As in, paranoid schizophrenia?


13 posted on 12/18/2011 6:20:23 PM PST by SatinDoll (NO FOREIGN NATIONALS AS U.S.A. PRESIDENT)
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To: Tarantulas

Physical proof that Marajuana not only damages the brain, but is also addicting. I can hear the howls of denial already winding up.


14 posted on 12/18/2011 6:20:27 PM PST by American in Israel (A wise man's heart directs him to the right, but the foolish mans heart directs him toward the left.)
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To: Tarantulas

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.


15 posted on 12/18/2011 6:21:19 PM PST by Tammy8 (~Secure the border and deport all illegals- do it now! ~ Support our Troops!~)
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To: Tarantulas

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.


16 posted on 12/18/2011 6:29:06 PM PST by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: Hugin

“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.


17 posted on 12/18/2011 6:30:53 PM PST by Fightin Whitey
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To: central_va
Like I wonder if the scientists took into account the study was done in Australia where everyone is upside down all the time. -------------- So, when Aussies get high, they FIND the remote control, locate their receipts for their tax returns and rent Schindler's List, write up and mail those Christmas cards and grind up some carrot juice? Then floss?
18 posted on 12/18/2011 6:44:23 PM PST by txhurl (Perry/Pence 2012 OR Perry/Ryan 2012 or even better Perry/Abbott 2012!)
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To: American in Israel

“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?


19 posted on 12/18/2011 6:59:53 PM PST by cowtowney
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To: cowtowney

” “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....


20 posted on 12/18/2011 7:13:16 PM PST by SgtBob (Freedom is not for the faint of heart. Semper Fi!)
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To: cowtowney

Neither which should matter to adults of legal age.


21 posted on 12/18/2011 7:15:44 PM PST by WOBBLY BOB (Congress: Looting the future to bribe the present.)
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To: Tarantulas

When I was in High School, I remember a conversation (or more accurately an attempted conversation) I had with a stoner while riding the bus to school. That was all it took for me to steer clear of the stuff. I knew I never wanted to look or sound like that kid!


22 posted on 12/18/2011 7:37:56 PM PST by JaguarXKE
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To: Tarantulas

When I was in High School, I remember a conversation (or more accurately an attempted conversation) I had with a stoner while riding the bus to school. That was all it took for me to steer clear of the stuff. I knew I never wanted to look or sound like that kid!


23 posted on 12/18/2011 7:38:06 PM PST by JaguarXKE
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To: Tarantulas
"they found a part of the frontal lobe area in their brains was smaller"

"I just want to sit on my back porch, not bother nobody and give myself a lobotomy" - /Libertarian mode off

24 posted on 12/18/2011 7:41:55 PM PST by DannyTN
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To: Tarantulas
"they found a part of the frontal lobe area in their brains was smaller"

"I just want to sit on my back porch, not bother nobody and give myself a lobotomy" - /Libertarian mode off

25 posted on 12/18/2011 7:42:09 PM PST by DannyTN
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To: SatinDoll
There was a 600% chance of developing schizophrenia later in life

Got to admit that during my graduate classes in NeuroPsychology and Statistical Method I didn't ever encounter a 600% chance of anything, WTH does that mean?

26 posted on 12/18/2011 7:50:31 PM PST by steve86 (Acerbic by nature, not nurture (Could be worst in 40 years))
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To: Tarantulas

Occupoopers prove the rule.


27 posted on 12/18/2011 7:54:38 PM PST by SaraJohnson
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To: steve86

What it means, Steve, is that smoking pot when you’re a teenager and your brain is still developing, ain’t good for your brain, period.


28 posted on 12/18/2011 7:57:22 PM PST by SatinDoll (NO FOREIGN NATIONALS AS U.S.A. PRESIDENT)
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To: fr_freak

The Herald-Sun’s article is so poorly written I can’t make heads or tails of it, except (I think) for the part about the abnormal orbitofrontal cortex predicting later Cannabis use. The word “Changes” in the title is completely inappropriate. The article is not mainly about changes, it is about existing abnormality predicting later cannabis use. The remainder of the description is indecipherable. It seems to describe anatomical effects of use, but is unclear. Unfortunately legions of FReepers seem to think they understand the article.


29 posted on 12/18/2011 7:57:30 PM PST by steve86 (Acerbic by nature, not nurture (Could be worst in 40 years))
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To: steve86

This is the link:

http://www.schizophrenia.com/prevention/streetdrugs.html


30 posted on 12/18/2011 7:59:36 PM PST by SatinDoll (NO FOREIGN NATIONALS AS U.S.A. PRESIDENT)
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To: steve86

I think the guy who wrote it was stoned.

Mel


31 posted on 12/18/2011 8:31:32 PM PST by melsec (Once a Jolly Swagman camped by a Billabong....)
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To: IamCenny

My sister used to be a police officer, and she said she could usually guess at what age someone started smoking dope, because it seemed their mental development was arrested at that point.


32 posted on 12/18/2011 8:40:48 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: SaraJohnson
Occupoopers prove the rule.

I'm convinced that this is the primary reason that otherwise sane conservatives are so supportive of the draconian approach to marijuana whereas they are just fine with alcohol, various addictive prescription drugs, and tobacco. It is because, especially among older people, there is still the strong association of marijuana with the commie hippies of the 60s, and therefore only nasty, filthy, amoral anti-American hippies smoke marijuana. The conservatives then, ironically, support the thrashing of the US Constitution in order to lock down this "dangerous" drug.

Well, let me tell you something from personal experience: there are a lot of good people who like to smoke pot. I was a grunt in the US Army, and I would estimate that the first thing that a good 33% of the troops planned to do when they ETS'ed was to get high as a kite. I'd be willing to bet that the percentage is higher now. In fact, the admission of past marijuana usage is no longer a disqualification for service (it was an automatic disqualification when I went in). When I asked one of the NCOs at a MEP station why that was, he explained that it was because so many people do it now, that it is no longer considered anti-social behavior (and, no doubt, they would have a very, very difficult time filling the ranks).

In my professional life, I knew all kinds of people who liked to smoke pot. They did it responsibly, of course, but they did it, all while maintaining good technical careers.

Freepers get on these threads and talk trash about the "dopeheads" on FR who think that pot is harmless, but I have never seen anyone here say that. Usually, the ones advocating an end to the war on drugs are focused on the various abuses the government now engages in to enforce this war on drugs, including stormtrooping neo-ninjas who kick in doors at 3am so they can shoot dogs and old ladies, quite often to stop a drug that arguably less harmful than alcohol, but, regardless, is not worth shredding the entire Bill of Rights for. Are we a nation of free adults, or are we a nation of coddled children? Free adults get to choose their vices.
33 posted on 12/18/2011 8:47:22 PM PST by fr_freak
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To: fr_freak

I was very young in the 70’s after pot had taken it’s toll on my older brother’s friends. He went to Viet Nam. Memory and ambition were not assets they suffered from. My brother made it a point to give me a tour of the wreckage.

The problem with legalizing drugs, is that dummies like you will promote the use of those drugs to dummies who don’t know any better. Then people like me will have to support them because they are too brain and soul fried to support their own babies.

I despise the war on drugs. Just trying to figure out how we can permit idiots to fry their own bodies and brains without them bothering everyone else with their mental problems on the job and their upkeep.


34 posted on 12/18/2011 9:02:25 PM PST by SaraJohnson
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To: SaraJohnson
The problem with legalizing drugs, is that dummies like you will promote the use of those drugs to dummies who don’t know any better. Then people like me will have to support them because they are too brain and soul fried to support their own babies.

Dummies like me? Really? That's a truly pathetic response, one that I would expect from a second grader. I just got done explaining that I served my country and was in a technical profession, but you go ahead and call me a dummy because you've got no logical rationale for your ridiculous bias. Then you go on to say that you despise the war on drugs, which was my whole point in the first place. People like you are what is dragging FR down into the intellectual gutter.

And by the way, even if your thinking were correct, that smoking pot guarantees that people will be unable to care for themselves, you're still engaged in fallacious thinking. Because the government has increased the welfare state, and thus its power, and made so many dependent on it, you use that situation to justify an even further increase in the meddling the government does in people's lives by saying that it should regulate everything that is bad for you. This sorry excuse for "conservative" thought is exactly why there is no real opposition to the creeping totalitarianism in our government. When "conservatives" support an all-powerful state, we're through.
35 posted on 12/18/2011 11:10:30 PM PST by fr_freak
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To: SaraJohnson

Placemark to insert my solution tomorrow!

heheh


36 posted on 12/18/2011 11:22:19 PM PST by little jeremiah (We will have to go through hell to get out of hell.)
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To: fr_freak; SaraJohnson

Fr_freak,

I agree with everything you said and thanks for your service.


37 posted on 12/19/2011 2:48:57 AM PST by cowtowney
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To: steve86
The Herald-Sun’s article is so poorly written I can’t make heads or tails of it, except (I think) for the part about the abnormal orbitofrontal cortex predicting later Cannabis use. The word “Changes” in the title is completely inappropriate. The article is not mainly about changes, it is about existing abnormality predicting later cannabis use. The remainder of the description is indecipherable. It seems to describe anatomical effects of use, but is unclear. Unfortunately legions of FReepers seem to think they understand the article.

You have to kind of read between the lines to understand it. Maybe the author smoked too used too much cannabis when a teen.

38 posted on 12/19/2011 2:56:14 AM PST by Bellflower
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To: fr_freak

Orbitofrontal Volumes in Early Adolescence Predict Initiation of Cannabis Use: A 4-Year Longitudinal and Prospective Study.

Cheetham A, Allen NB, Whittle S, Simmons J, Yücel M, Lubman DI.

Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:
There is growing evidence that long-term, heavy cannabis use is associated with alterations in regional brain volumes. Although these changes are frequently attributed to the neurotoxic effects of cannabis, it is possible that some abnormalities might predate use and represent markers of vulnerability. To date, no studies have examined whether structural brain abnormalities are present before the onset of cannabis use. This study aims to determine whether adolescents who have initiated cannabis use early (i.e., before age 17 years) show premorbid structural abnormalities in the amygdala, hippocampus, orbitofrontal cortex, and anterior cingulate cortex.

METHODS:
Participants (n = 121) were recruited from primary schools in Melbourne, Australia, as part of a larger study examining adolescent emotional development. Participants underwent structural magnetic resonance imaging at age 12 years and were assessed for cannabis use 4 years later, at age 16 years. At the follow-up assessment, 28 participants had commenced using cannabis (16 female subjects [57%]), and 93 had not (43 female subjects [46%]).

RESULTS:
Smaller orbitofrontal cortex volumes at age 12 years predicted initiation of cannabis use by age 16 years. The volumes of other regions (amygdala, hippocampus, and anterior cingulate cortex) did not predict later cannabis use.

CONCLUSIONS:
These findings suggest that structural abnormalities in the orbitofrontal cortex might contribute to risk for cannabis exposure. Although the results have important implications for understanding neurobiological predictors of cannabis use, further research is needed to understand their relationship with heavier patterns of use in adulthood as well as later abuse of other substances.

Copyright © 2011 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22129756


39 posted on 12/19/2011 11:22:32 AM PST by Tarantulas ( Illegal immigration - the trojan horse that's treated like a sacred cow)
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To: Tarantulas
This write-up seems to be suggesting that the "abnormalities in the orbitofrontal cortex" are predictors of cannabis use, rather than the results of it. Is that how you are reading it?

Regardless, teens shouldn't be smoking it, and nobody here would suggest otherwise.
40 posted on 12/19/2011 4:49:29 PM PST by fr_freak
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To: cowtowney

I appreciate your support here, cowtowney. Just to be clear, I’m not trying to suggest that I deserve any special consideration because I was in the military. My point was only that this is supposed to be a conservative community here on FR, but if people are going to waste time and bandwidth throwing out casual insults to people who should be natural allies, then we’ve got nothing here. On the other hand, the other poster might just be a troll.


41 posted on 12/19/2011 5:01:08 PM PST by fr_freak
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To: Tarantulas

Placemark.


42 posted on 12/19/2011 10:29:05 PM PST by little jeremiah (We will have to go through hell to get out of hell.)
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To: Tarantulas; 185JHP; 230FMJ; AKA Elena; Albion Wilde; Aleighanne; Alexander Rubin; ...
Moral Absolutes Ping!

Freepmail wagglebee to subscribe or unsubscribe from the moral absolutes ping list.

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It's a natural plant - herb - just like brocolli or Amanita mushrooms!

43 posted on 12/20/2011 10:14:13 PM PST by little jeremiah (We will have to go through hell to get out of hell.)
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To: Tammy8

I had some friends who I knew before pot and after pot and I watched bright, ambitious, good looking girls attending college turn into wastes who dropped out of college and whose only interests were when they were going to get high, drunk, or laid.


44 posted on 12/21/2011 9:48:41 AM PST by metmom (For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: USNBandit

It made me paranoid and jumpy as hell. I could not sit still.


45 posted on 12/25/2011 11:07:08 PM PST by POWERSBOOTHEFAN (Straight and proud.)
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