How could cannabis affect the teenage brain?

The merits and demerits of smoking cannabis is still under debate but the latest study has suggested that IQ level of teenager could be permanently reduced due to cannabis smoking. ¬†There are almost 400 different types of chemicals are present in cannabis that can alter the activity of brain and mood. The most important chemical is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that provides “chilled out” sensation associated with smoking cannabis, but it can also impair memory.

Prof Val Curran, from the British Association for Psychopharmacology and University College London, said: “Any drug will affect the brain’s natural chemistry.

“We believe cannabis use can affect the natural cannabinoid system.”

Researchers have said that the brain of teenagers is continuously changing with the effect of external environment and similarly their "Cannabis"IQ level is also affected.

Dr Anne-Lisa Goddings, who researchers the teenage brain at University College London, said: “The brain produces loads of synapses, probably more than it needs, then it starts cutting down, making them more efficient.”

She further said that it is difficult to find out the exact cause that how cannabis affect the development of brain but  since during the earlier age the brain is undergoing development phase and is more susceptible to cannabis than adults.

A consultant psychiatrist at Kings College London, Dr Zerrin Atakan, believes cannabis may be bit of a double-whammy for the brain.

She said using the drug could directly affect the brain and was “bound to leave its imprint”.

But she thought heavy use could make you “too laid back to want to do anything”. From not participating fully in school or not reading a book, or not meeting new people, she argues the experiences that can shape the mind are lost, meaning the brain does not develop.

Prof Curran argues: “You would probably find the same thing in heavy drinking. We should not put cannabis on a pedestal.”

Source: BBC

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