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Teen Marijuana Users Experience Lasting Effects on Brain Function

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – A study presented at the Society for Neuroscience meeting last month states that adolescent marijuana users may experience lasting effects on brain development.

Assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Staci Gruber, told USA Today that users who started at a young age have more cognitive shortfalls and lack focus. Participants in the study were given a number of tasks, which users performed quickly – but inaccurately. They also did not learn from their mistakes, while non-users did.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) supported the results of the test. The frontal cortex – where function and decision making take place – is impaired in marijuana users, according to fMRI data. 

The brains of teenagers are only 80 percent developed, and subsequently more vulnerable to drug use according to the study.

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