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What Happens to the Teenage Brain with Marijuana Use?

Throughout the years, cannabis has been a constant controversy in the United States on whether the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana is harmful or helpful for medicinal purposes. If you were to do research on the effects of the THC, you might conclude that both sides are relevant within their findings without having a clue what happens to the teenage brain. Since medical marijuana is legal in 29 states and recreational marijuana is now legal in 9, you should look at what could happen to your teenager’s brain on THC. Gaining knowledge in this area will not only help your teen, this knowledge will also show you what you could be up against moving forward. One of the first things to consider is that 90 percent of all addictions start during the teenage years according to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. Their findings also show that 17 percent of teens who begin using marijuana will develop a marijuana use disorder. You may have been told that marijuana is not addicting, but anything mind-altering can become addicting due to the reward center of the brain desiring to have that feeling again and again. Marijuana is no different. The brain does not completely mature until around the age of 25. Consuming marijuana could completely affect the development of the brain in more ways than one which cannot be reversed. The Monitoring the Future Study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, shows heavy marijuana usage in teenagers correlates to lower test scores and grades along with a lower zest for life. Teenagers who consume marijuana habitually may result on average with an 8-point drop within their IQ. This could directly affect them graduating high school or making the decision to not attend college. Heavy teenage marijuana users are also in danger of altering their brain development in a few specific ways as reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens. Excessive marijuana use in teens overall decreases cognitive processing, causes the shrinking of the amygdala and hippocampus which regulates the emotions and memory functions of the brain, and transforms connectivity between the two brain hemispheres which can negatively influence them in their future endeavors. Understanding the dangers of how marijuana causes harm to an undeveloped brain could change the outcome of a teenager’s course. Talking to your teen about marijuana may keep them on the right path to better achieve the bright future you have envisioned for them.   

If you or an adolescent you know is experiencing marijuana abuse, Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center can offer them substance abuse and mental health treatment. Our around the clock care can develop the skills and abilities for your teenager to reach their full potential in their sobriety.

Call us today to start living in recovery: 662-598-4214