Early Cannabis Use Harmful for the Brain

by Dr. Trupti Shirole on  June 2, 2011 at 8:21 PM Alcohol & Drug Abuse News   - G J E 4
According to a new research early cannabis use may have more harmful effects on people's cognitive functioning. The study says that regular cannabis users who start using the drug before 15-years of age perform worse on brain tests than those who start using it later.
 Early Cannabis Use Harmful for the Brain
Early Cannabis Use Harmful for the Brain

104 subjects who were part of the study were asked to participate in a series of neuro-psychological tasks which tested their executive functioning, attention, perseverance, ability to form abstract concepts, mental flexibility, visual and motor skills. The participants were divided in three groups- early onset users (those who started using the drug before 15-years), late onset users (those who started using the drug before 15-years) and control group (those who never used cannabis).

No difference was noted in the IQ levels between the three groups. It was found that the early-onset group performed significantly worse than the late-onset group and the control group on tasks which tested their sustained attention, impulse control and executive functioning.

Adolescence is a period during which the brain appears to be particularly vulnerable to the neurotoxic effects of cannabis. Brain imaging studies have shown that the brain is still maturing and developing before 15-years of age and exposure to cannabis during this period may be more harmful and lead to lower mental flexibility.

This research has been published in the June issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Source: Medindia

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