Cannabis Damages Young Brains More than Previously Thought
DECEMBER 22, 2009
New findings from a team of Canadian researchers led by Dr. Gabriella Gobbi, researcher, neuroscience axis, Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, and psychiatrist and associate professor, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, show that young brains are affected more by the illicit drug than originally thought. In fact, the researchers found that long-term daily consumption of cannabis among teens can induce anxiety- and depression-like behaviors in adulthood, as well as other irreversible, long-term effects on the brain.
Although previous epidemiological studies have demonstrated the affect on behavior of cannabis use among teenagers, Dr. Gobbi explained that the current study “is one of the first to focus on the neurobiological mechanisms at the root of this influence of cannabis on depression and anxiety in adolescents.” The study also looked at whether the brains of teenagers are more susceptible than those of adults to the neurological effects of cannabis use. Indeed, the study is the first to show that more serious damage is caused with cannabis consumption during adolescence than during adulthood.
“Teenagers who are exposed to cannabis have decreased serotonin transmission, which leads to mood disorders, as well as increased norepinephrine transmission, which leads to greater long-term susceptibility to stress,” Dr. Gobbi stated.
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