A new study indicates that adolescent boys who use marijuana on a weekly basis may be at heightened risk for subclinical symptoms of psychosis. Alarmingly, these symptoms appear to persist, even after a year of abstinence from the drug.
According to a recent article published on ScienceDaily, researchers at the University of Texas say that the age at which adolescents using marijuana can alter the typical course of brain development, compromising brain structures that are responsible for higher order thinking.
Rick Nauert reports on PsychCentral about a study by investigators from Northwestern University concerning the adverse impact of teens’ daily marijuana smoking on the shape and function of the hippocampus, a brain structure that plays a key role in the preservation of long-term memories.
“Our study provides definitive evidence that in heavy cannabis users, there is a detectable deficit of striatal dopamine release using an amphetamine challenge,” said Dr Weinstein. “Within the striatum, the subdivisions seem to have a different pattern, in contrast to reports of other substance abuse. And our exploratory analysis suggests that the deficits we are seeing in dopamine release in the striatum have a functional significance — that lower dopamine release is associated with lower working memory and learning performance.”
A new study published in the journal Addictive Behaviors and reported on health.usnews.com has important implications for parents, educators and health professionals. It found that “among people who use illicit drugs ” those with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) start using them one to two years earlier in their youth than those without the disorder.” On average, subjects with ADHD began using alcohol at 13, about 1.5 years before those without the disorder.
“Teens who have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) are two to four times more likely to use drugs or alcohol, compared with teens with no history of TBI, according to new research published in The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation.”
Twenty-four percent of high school students admit to taking at least one prescription painkiller, and 20 percent of teens admit to abusing prescription drugs before the age of 14, according to a 2012 survey at Drugfree.org (Your Teen for Parents) http://wp.me/p2Enux-ie