Marijuana Effects of Teenage use may be Reversible

The strongest arguments against marijuana are the effects that it may have on teenagers. The medical benefits of marijuana have been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. Marijuana reduces a host of common symptoms and the effects and healing modalities of marijuana are only just being explored. But the day to day effects of cannabis are more concerning. Cannabis smoked daily might lead to lack of productivity. Young people in particular need to develop a work ethic and build character. The worst possible thing is to hand them a joint at an early age, though it is most likely the best of all such substances. They will develop habits of laziness and lack of motivation which will ruin university chances. Habits are formed at an early age that stay with people for the rest of their lives, and it is important with all the marijuana hype that marijuana be kept away from those most susceptible.

Effects of Marijuana

The question of whether the effects of marijuana are reversible have been disputed in a number of studies, with some conflicting outcomes. The general consensus is that marijuana has no long term medical effects. Studies have shown that short term memory and general cognitive performance goes down when subjects are under the influence of marijuana. But this is not a long-term effect and the cognitive decline vanishes when the subjects are again sober. Studies have shown that even long-term marijuana smokers do not suffer any ill effects, though there are some conflicting studies. According to Dr. Harrison Pope of McLean Hospital Massachusetts:

“It appears that cognitive impairment from marijuana use is temporary and related to the amount of marijuana that has been recently smoked rather than permanent and related to an entire lifetime consumption.”

Pope and colleagues collected data on 3 groups of marijuana users. The first group consisted of 63 users who had smoked marijuana at least 5,000 times in their lives and were daily marijuana users. In group Number 2, there were 45 former marijuana users who had smoked marijuana at least 5,000 times but had used it less than 12 times in the past 3 months. Group 3 was made up of 72 controls who had not smoked marijuana more than 50 times. Heavy marijuana users had significantly lower scores on word recall lists at the beginning of the study and on the day 1 and day 7 tests compared with non-users. However, by day 28 there were no significant differences between the groups in any of the tests, with no significant association between cumulative lifetime marijuana use and test scores, Pope’s group found. Thus, marijuana usage did not in any way affect how marijuana users did on the test. According to Pope:

“People who are regular heavy marijuana smokers will exhibit some impairment that lasts days, and possibly even a couple of weeks after they stop smoking–that’s the bad news. The good news is that if they abstain from marijuana for longer than 4 weeks, then the residual effects seem to disappear

Effects of Marijuana on Teenagers

Last year, around 10% of 8th graders and 24% of 10th graders in the USA stated that they had used cannabis at least once in the previous year.However, the highest use was among 12th graders, with 37% indicating that they had used it at least once in the previous year, and 7% saying that they used it daily or near daily.

It is a matter of great debate within the industry as to whether or not long-term exposure to THC can cause schizophrenia and other psychiatric illnesses. But the general consensus is that long term THC expose is not linked to psychiatric disorders, though not by a wide margin. Steven Laviolette – a professor at the University of Western Ontario’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry – found that long term THC exposure most definitely leads to adult anomalies which closely resemble schizophrenia. The study is focused on rats, and notes changes in the prefrontal cortex region.

What is interesting is that the follow up study completed by Laviolette indicated a mechanism as to how this disputed exposure could be lessened. The theory is that long term THC exposure increases dopamine at the expense of GABA. In short, a reduction of GABA drove the rats more or less insane, with high levels of anxiety and agitation. The lack of GABA led to hyperactive levels of dopamine which is commonly seen in those suffering from schizophrenia. The researchers said they could mitigate these damages with drugs that activate GABA. The team is now investigating how to mix cannabinoids and GABA boosting drugs to treat depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and other health conditions.

The Takeaway

The general takeaway from all the above is that long term marijuana use has not been proven to lead to any type of cognitive impairment. Most of the research indicates that it does not impair individuals in any way. But nevertheless, Laviolette and his team are already planning to invent GABA related drugs that affect the brain in ways they know next to nothing about, in other to remedy a relationship that has never been proven. They are solving a non-problem with a problem. A chemical GABA related solution to fix a relationship that may exist between marijuana and mental disorders. Insanity dressed up as reason. While marijuana should not be used by children, it is far better than any chemical solution invented by scientists.

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