Study Suggests That Cannabis’ Effect on the Brain Differs by Age

Since the start of the state-legal cannabis push began in earnest back in the 1990s, certain medical experts have been warning that cannabis consumption among adolescents and teens is a bad idea. They have insisted that cannabis affects still developing brains in ways it could be harmful. A 2021 study published by JAMA Psychiatry seems to provide proof.

The study was conducted by looking at nearly 1,600 MRI images of the brains of 799 cannabis users. Researchers learned two very important things:

  1. Cannabis seems to have a detrimental impact on young people from 14-19 years of age.
  2. It seems to have a positive impact on older adults.

Cannabis consumption among young people appears to contribute to “accelerated age-related cortical thinning.” In other words, certain areas of the brain rich in cannabinoid 1 receptors tend to lose mass when teens use cannabis consistently. Unfortunately, the study participants in which this was observed showed no meaningful improvement at 5-year follow-up. The thinning seems to be permanent.

States Are Careful With Kids

Concerns about adolescent marijuana use are not new. They have been around for a long time. That’s why states with legalized cannabis programs are careful when it comes to kids. Lawmakers …