Marijuana use during adolescence can affect the structure and function of the developing brain. Research indicates that heavy marijuana use can cause permanent loss as much as 8 IQ points.

Changes in the brain can negatively impact:

– Learning and academic achievement

– Attention, concentration and memory

– School and job performance

– Impulse control and the brain’s reward system

– Problem solving and judgment

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Marijuana: The impact on the teen brain.

Marijuana use during adolescence can affect the structure and function of the developing brain. Research indicates that heavy marijuana use can cause permanent loss of functioning, as much as 8 IQ points. This functional loss is important to note, as intellectual functioning (IQ scores) are typically stable and consistent over time.

 

Changes in the brain can negatively impact many areas, such as: learning and academic achievement; attention, concentration and memory; school and job performance; impulse control and the brain’s reward system; problem-solving and judgment. Learning, attention, and problem-solving/judgement (for example) involve multiple, complex, interconnected brain systems – highlighting the wide impact marijuana can have on the developing brain.

 

A few common misconceptions surrounding marijuana use include that it is not an addictive substance, that its use does not lead to longer-term changes or damage, and that it is possible to “quit anytime.” However, regular, ongoing marijuana use can result in a marijuana use disorder and/or dependence and related withdrawal symptoms when not using marijuana.

 

It is important to educate youth regarding the potential negative impacts of marijuana use; below are some resources that families can access, to this end:

 

National Institute on Drug Use – Marijuana Research Report

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

For help and more information, contact:
Lauren McArdle, Ph.D., District 95 at 847-540-4973
or Sara Marx, LCPC, NCC, Ela Township at 847-540-8380