Cannabis more toxic to teenage brains than alcohol

Professor Vincent Harley from the Hudson Institute

Cannabis can create addiction (though smaller than "hard" drugs), as well as increase the risk of psychoses, especially in puberty.

Both alcohol and cannabis damage the development of teenagers, the researchers found - but cannabis is worse. At the start of the study, the teens were in seventh grade i.e. around 13 years old. The team gave their word the details would not be shared with parents unless there was a risk of harm.

But, instead, the research detected greater increases in errors in cognitive tests on the teenagers using cannabis - while they were taking the drug and after they had stopped.

"Further increases in cannabis use, but not alcohol consumption, showed additional concurrent and lagged effects on cognitive functions, such as perceptual reasoning, memory recall, working memory, and inhibitory control", Dr. Conrod notes. Participants were also instructed to take computer-based cognitive tests which measured their recall memory, perceptual reasoning, inhibitory control, and short-term memory.

"They should delay their use of cannabis as long as they can".

The hospital's study showed that cannabis use even if it's infrequent can affect the teens' skills necessary to succeed in school.

Dr. Patricia Conrod, from the Department of Psychiatry at Université de Montréal, said, 'very few studies are created to look at this question from a developmental perspective.

"Cannabis causes cognitive impairment and delayed cognitive development in adolescents".

Smoking cannabis has a greater impact on a teens brain than alcohol, causing lasting effects on memory and the ability to reason, an global study has found.

Consuming substances such as cannabis, and drinking alcohol, at an early age is known to cause problems with academic performance at school ... and too with cognitive abilities such as attention and decision-making.

In a 2017 report by the American Academy of Pediatrics, experts emphasized against the use of marijuana by children and teenagers since their brains are still developing and highly vulnerable.

The research also suggests cannabis works as a "gateway drug" by reducing the mental capacity to control the impulses associated with addictive behavior.

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