Young People, Marijuana, and Brain Damage

A graphic of marijuana in the brain.Marijuana is a drug that has gained immense popularity in recent years, although it has always been prevalent in American society. The main difference now is that marijuana use is visible at the surface of so many parts of our culture, from its widespread usage in media, to the states that have legalized its use, recreationally and medically. While we don’t want to ruminate on the ethics of this situation, as it is complicated and full of grey areas, it is important to keep in mind that we need to be aware and vigilant about the effects that this can have on our society, and particularly our young people. Recently, there was a study conducted about the effects that marijuana can have on young people, and the effects must be noted…

Recent research

Researchers from the Lawson Health Research Institute and the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry in London, Ontario have recently conducted a study to track correlations between marijuana abuse and brain development of individuals under the age of 17. To carry out this experiment, they did research on four different study groups: marijuana users with depression, non-marijuana users with depression, marijuana users without depression, non-marijuana users without depression. These different groups were also divided between those who were under 17 and those who were older.

Claims of marijuana’s ability to fight depression

The researchers carried out studies to determine how marijuana and depression were affecting brain activity and functional cognition. The basis of this study was to research a claim by many young marijuana users who claimed that the substance was helping them cope with clinical depression or anxiety. Study participants were exposed to psychological tests, as well as IQ tests. The psychological examinations showed that the symptoms of depression were not being reduced by marijuana use, and actually stayed the same.

Early marijuana use may result in a lower IQ

Although there was no correlation that proved marijuana’s ability to help with depression, there was a strong correlation between early marijuana use and lower IQ scores. Individuals who started using marijuana before the age of 17 were shown to have lower IQ scores. This promotes the theory that marijuana has a negative impact on brain development in younger users. On top of this, cognitive spatial recognition was shown to be affected by frequent marijuana use in similar ways.