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Understanding Addiction: Teen Marijuana Use Can Have Permanent Effects On the Brain

Updated on July 25, 2013

Risks of teen marijuana use are worse than originally thought. According to a new study, daily use of marijuana (also known as cannabis, marihuana, weed or pot) in teens can cause anxiety and depression. It has been shown to have permanent effects on the developing brain of teen marijuana users.

Previous studies have shown that marijuana use can affect teen behavior. Dr. Gabriella Gobbi and her team of researchers at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre wanted to know the effects of marijuana on the brains of teenagers; they also wanted to know if teens are more susceptible to its neurological effects than adults.

Results of the study suggest that cannabis use affects levels of norepinephrine and serotonin. These brain chemicals are involved in regulation of neurological functions, including anxiety, mood control, depression and stress.

According to Dr. Gobbi, teenagers who use cannabis have lower serotonin and lower norepinephrine transmission. These changes can lead to mood disorders and greater susceptibility to stress, respectively.

This study shows that teens are more susceptible to the neurological effects of Cannabis than adults. Marijuana use can lead to permanent effects on the brain of teenagers.

These findings are significant because there are millions of marijuana users worldwide.

A study done by the Public Health Agency of Canada in 2004 showed that Canadian teenagers are among the largest users of marijuana in the world. According to the study, 42.7% of Canadian adolescents have used marijuana; in the United States and in Europe, 40% and 35% of teenagers have used marijuana, respectively.

The United Nations estimated that about 162 million people or 4% of the world's adult population use Cannabis every year. About 22.5 million people (0.6%) use it every day.

So, irreversible brain effects on adult and teenage marijuana users that can lead to mood disorders, anxiety, depression and susceptibility to stress can have long-term health consequences for millions of people worldwide.

Teen Marijuana Use Can Have Permanent Effects On the Brain

Background Information: Effects and Consequences of Marijuana Or Cannabis Use

The terms cannabis or marijuana refers to the dried flowers as well as the leaves and stems of the female cannabis plant.

The major psychoactive chemical compound in cannabis is Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Various studies have shown that other cannabinoid compounds may also play a role in its psychoactive effects.

Cannabis is consumed in many different ways involving inhalation of smoke. It has been used for recreational and medicinal purposes.

Cannabis use has psychoactive, neurological and physiological effects. It causes changes in perception and mood. Other common effects include impairment of memory and concentration, increased heart rate, lowered blood pressure and impairment of psychomotor coordination.

Long-term cannabis use has been shown by studies to be associated with development of anxiety, depression and psychosis.

Medical uses of cannabis or marijuana include the relief of nausea and vomiting as well as stimulation of hunger in chemotherapy and AIDS patients. It has also been used to lower intraocular eye pressure in patients with glaucoma. More commonly, it has been used as a pain reliever.

Marinol and other synthesized cannabinoids are sold as prescription drugs in Canada, Mexico, Spain, Austria and Germany as well as the Netherlands, United States and United Kingdom.

The possession, use or sale of cannabis is illegal in most parts of the world.

Brain Effects of Marijuana

What do you think? Please share your comments.

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  • Weed MAn 5 profile image

    Weed MAn 5 

    4 years ago

    A lot of anything at a young age is harmful, but weed should still be available to be enjoyed by adults

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