Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Marijuana Use Takes Toll On Adolescent Brain Function, Research Finds

Date:
October 15, 2008
Source:
University of Cincinnati
Summary:
Brain imaging shows that the brains of teens that use marijuana are working harder than the brains of their peers who abstain from the drug.

Krista Lisdahl Medina.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Cincinnati

Brain imaging shows that the brains of teens that use marijuana are working harder than the brains of their peers who abstain from the drug.

Related Articles


At the 2008 annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics in Boston, Mass., Krista Lisdahl Medina, a University of Cincinnati assistant professor of psychology, presented collaborative research with Susan Tapert, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego.

Medina’s Oct. 12 presentation, titled, “Neuroimaging Marijuana Use and its Effects on Cognitive Function,” suggests that chronic, heavy marijuana use during adolescence – a critical period of ongoing brain development – is associated with poorer performance on thinking tasks, including slower psychomotor speed and poorer complex attention, verbal memory and planning ability. Medina says that’s evident even after a month of stopping marijuana use. She says that while recent findings suggest partial recovery of verbal memory functioning within the first three weeks of adolescent abstinence from marijuana, complex attention skills continue to be affected.

“Not only are their thinking abilities worse, their brain activation to cognitive tasks is abnormal. The tasks are fairly easy, such as remembering the location of objects, and they may be able to complete the tasks, but what we see is that adolescent marijuana users are using more of their parietal and frontal cortices to complete the tasks. Their brain is working harder than it should,” Medina says.

She adds that recent findings suggest females may be at increased risk for the neurocognitive consequences of marijuana use during adolescence, as studies found that teenage girls had marginally larger prefrontal cortex (PFC) volumes compared to girls who did not smoke marijuana. The larger PFC volumes were associated with poorer executive functions of the brain in these teens, such as planning, decision-making or staying focused on a task.

Medina says adolescence is a critical time of brain development and that the findings are yet another warning for adolescents who experiment with drug use. She says more study is needed to see if the thinking abilities of adolescent marijuana users improve following longer periods of abstinence from the drug. “Longitudinal studies following youth over time are needed to rule out the influence of pre-existing differences before teens begin using marijuana, and to examine whether abstinence from marijuana results in recovery of cognitive and brain functioning,” says Medina.

The research was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Cincinnati. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Cincinnati. "Marijuana Use Takes Toll On Adolescent Brain Function, Research Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081014111156.htm>.
University of Cincinnati. (2008, October 15). Marijuana Use Takes Toll On Adolescent Brain Function, Research Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081014111156.htm
University of Cincinnati. "Marijuana Use Takes Toll On Adolescent Brain Function, Research Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081014111156.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins