Cannabis Harm to Teenagers’ Brains ‘Overstated’, Finds Study

Article by Alex Matthews-King, Independent

Cannabis harm to teenagers' brains 'overstated', finds study Marijuana’s impact on adolescents’ brain development and mental health remains a major concern Alex Matthews-King. People attend the Denver 420 Rally at Civic Center Park in Denver, Colorado on April 20, 2017. The rally, held annually, is a celebration of both the legalization of cannabis and cannabis culture. Colorado is one of twenty-six U.S. states along with the District of Columbia that has legalized the use of cannabis either recreationally or medically. / AFP PHOTO / Jason ConnollyJASON CONNOLLY/AFP/Getty Images

Fears that cannabis causes irreparable harm to teenager’s brains have been stoked by trials which “overstated” the effects on intelligence and other functions, according to a review which found little ill-effect after three days abstinence.

Studies have shown it is 114 times less harmful than alcohol, but marijuana’s impact on adolescents’ brain development and mental health is a major concern for policy makers in debates over legalisation.

This is a key time developmental period and studies have found negative impacts on attention, learning, memory and organisation in heavy or frequent cannabis users.

But it now appears that these studies may have just been identifying impairment caused by residual effects of the drug or withdrawal symptoms.

A meta-analysis by University of Pennsylvania researchers looked at 69 studies, which all tested the impact of marijuana smoking in adolescents and young adults, and found little to no long-term harm.

Read the full article here.

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