A Canadian study says that teens using cannabis are damaging their brains greatly. It negatively affects behavior, memory and thinking skills a lot more than teenage drinking does. Cannabis use has impacts on cognitive abilities like decision-making, attention and learning, which in turn affects school academic performances. Montreal University researchers said that teenagers should abstain from the use of cannabis for as long as possible. About 3,800 teenagers, starting from 13 years of age, were tested and tracked for a period of over 4 years. The study showed that the effects were long-lasting and were directly proportional to the quantity of cannabis taken. Teens from 31 Canadian schools provided detailed information about their drinking and drug habits every year and their brain skills like recall memory, inhibitory control, short-term memory and perceptual reasoning were tested using computer-based cognitive tests.
Cannabis use was however found to be lower than alcohol intake. 28% of teens admitted that they used cannabis and this is in comparison to 75% of teens who admitted to occasional drinking habits. Prof Conrod of Department of Psychiatry at the University of Montreal said that she had expected alcohol to have greater impacts on brains of teens. But it was instead seen that cognitive abilities of teens using cannabis were more during and after use. The data obtained from the study stressed on the importance of drug-prevention programs.
In the UK, cannabis is thought of as the most widely used illegal drug. It is highly addictive and it increases the risks of developing psychotic diseases and illnesses, especially in adolescents. But experts say that even giving up use of cannabis can lead to withdrawal symptoms which include mood swings and sleeping problems. American Journal of Psychiatry published the study on October 3 which is titled “A Population-Based Analysis of the Relationship between Substance Use and Adolescent Cognitive Development”.