Cannabis can affect teenagers so severely that they stay behind their classmates for three years, the study finds
- Results of a survey of 4,000 Canadian school children
- Researchers found cannabis to be more toxic to young people's brains than alcohol
- Continued use of the drug has seriously affected fundamental reasoning skills
Regular smoking of cannabis can affect teenagers so much that they are three years behind their classmates in the field of brain development, according to a milestone study.
The results of the study, which involved nearly 4,000 high school children in Canada, led researchers to conclude that cannabis is more toxic to young people's brains than alcohol.
Continued use of the drug has seriously affected fundamental reasoning skills – while it also had a disastrous effect on self-control, they found.
Students who smoked cannabis saw their results deteriorate as their use of the drug increased
In the meantime, a separate study has found hard evidence that the major psychoactive substance in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), causes changes in the brain that cause schizophrenia.
In the high school study, researchers from the University of Montreal studied students from the moment they entered Canadian seventh grade – age 12 or 13 – for four years.
They regularly asked the young volunteers about their cannabis and alcohol use and spent them on computer skills with regard to reasoning skills, short-term memory and self-control.
Professor Patricia Conrod, professor of psychiatry at the university, said not only that cannabis users had a tendency to do worse than non-users, but also that those who smoked cannabis saw their results deteriorate as their use of the drug increased.
A separate study has found hard evidence that the major psychoactive substance in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), causes changes in the brain that cause schizophrenia
She told The Mail on Sunday: & # 39; We really expected alcohol to have a more powerful effect (on brain health) than cannabis, but that didn't seem to be the case. In the field of neuro-development, it now appears that cannabis can be a relatively risky drug for young people.
& # 39; If you are a cannabis user and have used this year and last year, your tenth grade inhibitory control level is lower than that of a seventh grade non-user. So you lose three years of development. & # 39;
Prof. Conrod presents her findings at the Canadian Neuroscience Meeting in Toronto this weekend, as does neuroscientist Dr. Steven Laviolette from Western University in London, Ontario.
He found that rodents who were given THC during adolescence developed schizophrenia-like problems when they were fully grown. & # 39; They have memory impairment, high levels of anxiety, depressive symptoms and social interaction problems, & # 39; he said.
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