Study Shows Marijuana Use Interrupts Adolescent Brain Development

This article states, "Regular marijuana use by teens can stop the brain from maturing, according to a new study by scientists at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, North Chicago, IL. Published March 4 in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, the study is the first to establish a causal link between repeated cannabinoid exposure during adolescence and an interruption of the normal maturation processes in the prefrontal cortex, a region in the brain's frontal lobe, which regulates decision ­making and working memory and undergoes critical development during adolescence."

"The study shows how chronic cannabis use by teens can cause persistent behavioral deficits in adulthood, including problems with attention span and impulse control. The findings also add to prior research that draws a correlation between adolescent marijuana abuse and the development of schizophrenia."

As an increasing number of states consider legalization of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use, this discovery calls for prescribing physicians to take notice and for policy makers "to establish regulations to take advantage of the beneficial effects of marijuana while minimizing its detrimental potential."

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