University of Maryland researchers ina studyfunded by the Federal government's National Institute on Drug Abuse, have preliminary evidence that suggests that marijuana use by young individuals whose brains are in the process of maturing may develop adverse effects on their brains' ability to function that may last into adulthood. The study found that adult smokers did not experience the same thinking dysfunction. Thus, if the evidence is substantiated by further study, regular marijuana use during adolescence, but not adulthood, may permanently impair cognition [thinking] and increase the risk for psychiatric diseases, such as schizophrenia. In more technical language, the research study can be summarized as follows:

"NIDA-supported researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine have found further evidence that marijuana exposure during adolescence, when prefrontal areas of the brain are still maturing, can produce long-lasting cognitive impairment. Cortical oscillations, or the rhythm of neural firing across brain areas, play a role in cognitive functions like attention, integrating sensory information, and working memory, and they are known to be reduced also in schizophrenia and other diseases. The adolescent brain’s unique sensitivity to being modified by cannabinoids [marijuana] has been indicated in other human and animal studies, although this is the first study to directly link adolescent exposure to abnormal electrophysiological activity in the adult brain.”

So, the takeaway for this piece of research is that marijuana use by adolescents may cause damage to thinking processes in the brain that may last into adulthood. Marijuana is not a benign drug!As always, comments are Edward Williams, 08/05/2013.


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