Adolescents who experienced cannabis are more likely to suffer long-term cognitive effects. According to research, teenagers who use cannabis on a regular basis score lower on memory-related tasks and also suffer from memory loss.
Researchers have conducted numerous studies on the adverse effects of marijuana use among teens, most of which were consistent, showing long-term negative effects.
Cannabis Use Dangerous For Teenagers
The results of this research are all the more concerning, as previous study has pointed out that cannabis consumption among teenagers can lead to memory loss. Abundant use of marijuana was found to affect memory processes employed in using everyday tasks.
As part of that research, subjects who has been using marijuana for a long time were also the ones to have most abnormalities in the shape of their hippocampus, which suggests that memory-related areas of the brain are the first affected by persistent use.
The results of this study are consistent with previous papers published on the matter. Another study, conducted by researchers at the Northwestern University in Chicago in 2013 suggested that teenagers who consume cannabis experience changes in the subcortical regions of the brain. These regions are responsible for memory and reasoning. Teenagers who smoked marijuana scored lower on memory-related tasks.
"We observed that the shapes of brain structures related to short-term memory seemed to collapse inward or shrink in people who had a history of daily marijuana use when compared to healthy participants," said Matthew Smith, study author.
Another study has shown that using marijuana for recreational purposes may cause daytime sleepiness among teens. The research evaluated displays of excessive daytime sleepiness, revealing that around 10 percent of the teens who had problems with sleepiness were found with positive drug screen results concerning marijuana use.
"We believe that many of the children who had positive urine drug testing for marijuana and testing consistent with narcolepsy had improvement of the symptom of excessive day time sleepiness after enrollment in a community drug program," noted Mark L. Splaingard, MD, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Nationwide Children's Hospital and senior author of the said study.
Additionally, the legalization of cannabis would also have a negative psychological effect on teens, as they could believe the substance is harmless. Following the legalization of marijuana in the state of Washington in 2012, more adolescents started to use the substance. Additionally, the perceived risks associated with marijuana consumption dropped.
Smarter Kids More Likely To Consume Cannabis
Smarter teenagers were found less likely to smoke and almost twice more likely to consume marijuana compared to children who score lower in academic tests. The scientists who conducted the research believe that these findings are a warning against stereotyping teenagers who consume cannabis and drink more as having a poorer academic performance.
The researchers tracked the students over the seven years, surveying them about cigarette, alcohol, and cannabis consumption, especially during early and late adolescence. According to the results of the surveys, students who score higher grades have a 62 percent lower chance to smoke cigarettes during their early adolescence. However, they were 25 percent more likely to drink on occasions during their early adolescence compared to students who score lower grades.