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Pot smoking may cause permanent brain damage

Study finds that teens’ drug use impairs brain function.

By Sally Wadyka Jul 25, 2013 7:43PM
Sure, there are plenty of jokes about the effects pot can have on you -- making you paranoid or causing sudden cravings for pizza and Doritos. And anyone old enough to remember those anti-drug ads from the '80s knows that "your brain on drugs" apparently resembles an egg frying in a very hot pan.

But the topic of marijuana's long-term effects on brain function has been controversial. The most recent news, though, is not good for kids who smoke pot.Researchers at the University of Maryland studied mice to look at how marijuana use during adolescence impacts those still-developing brains. A group of adolescent mice were exposed to low doses of the active ingredient in marijuana for 20 days, then returned to their sibling groups to continue maturing.

When the mice reached adulthood, the researchers examined cortical oscillations (patterns of neuron activity in the brain) and found that the mice who had been exposed to marijuana had greatly altered cortical oscillations and impaired cognitive abilities. The researchers then exposed adult mice to the same levels of marijuana's active ingredient. Surprisingly, the adult mice didn't show the same alterations in cortical oscillations and had no changes in their ability to perform cognitive behavioral tasks.

These results don't bode well for teenagers who decide to dabble in drugs. "The striking finding is that, even though the mice were exposed to very low drug doses, and only for a brief period during adolescence, their brain abnormalities persisted into adulthood," said the study’s lead author, Sylvina Mullins Raver.

Why are teens so much more affected over the long term by using pot than adults are? The researchers did some deeper brain examinations of the mice in the study to try to figure that out. It appears that the frontal cortex of the brain is still developing during adolescence, and that is the part of the brain is most affected by drugs. Put those two findings together and you end up with a teenage brain that has the potential to be permanently changed by drug use.

It looks like maybe those "this is your brain on drugs" ads had it right all along. Especially if that egg is a teenager's brain.

More on Daily Apple

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Munchies aside, pot smokers are thinner
Pot and your health
635Comments
Jul 25, 2013 8:11PM
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Pass the dubie! I'm not a mouse and I am 66.
Jul 25, 2013 8:17PM
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Pot is a soft drug.

 

Alcohol is a hard drug.

 

When pot becomes legal, maybe beer cans and vomit will disappear off the ground and stoned people will sit there observing nature while art and music will thrive.

Jul 25, 2013 8:07PM
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Well that explains a lot for me. Now to keep my kids from making the same mistake I did. How about taking it off the streets by legalizing it and regulating it?
Jul 25, 2013 8:03PM
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Meanwhile, alcohol use helps teens thrive. So says baby mice.
Jul 25, 2013 8:14PM
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I think that the writer of this article has been smoking the magic weed herself.  The article's first sentence      " Sure, there are plenty of jokes about the affect pot can have on you,,,,"  "Affect" should be EFFECT.  With such poor grammar how can one believe that Sally knows what she is writing about.

Jul 25, 2013 8:08PM
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One sample experiment on mice is now proving pot harmful to teenage humans. Seems like a big leap to make, unless the researchers were stoned at the time.
Jul 25, 2013 8:08PM
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Damn teens !! - screw'n it up for all of us !!

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