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While this subject isn't central to the Cannabis and Spirituality project, it is important of course. The problem is that as Kirsten Weir put it in the Nov. 15 issue of the American Psychological Association Monitor on Psychology, " . . . the evidence against marijuana is frustratingly mixed." It's an extremely complex issue, and one that's vulnerable to misappropriation by those with an anti-cannabis agenda, or in some cases a dogmatic pro-everything-cannabis stance.

There are many research studies on this concern but little agreement on whether or not cannabis use results in lasting damage to the still developing adolescent brain. A number of studies demonstrate some cognitive decline, especially among heavy users. Others have not been able to replicate such findings. Even if lasting damage does occur, a key point is that correlation does not automatically imply causation.

For example, Pope and 5 others (Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Vol. 69. April 2003) concluded that:

"Early-onset cannabis users exhibit poorer cognitive performance than late-onset users or control subjects, especially in VIQ [verbal IQ], but the cause of this difference cannot be determined from our data.[italics mine] The difference may reflect (1) innate differences between groups in cognitive ability, antedating first cannabis use; (2) an actual neurotoxic effect of cannabis on the developing brain; or (3) poorer learning of conventional cognitive skills by young cannabis users who have eschewed academics and diverged from the mainstream culture."

And then you get this by DeLisi and 6 other contributors writing in the Harm Reduction Journal (may 2006.)

"It has never been shown consistently that cannabis has direct effects on brain development. . . . Thus, these data lead to the likely conclusion that cannabis use, in at least moderate amounts, during adolescence does not appear to be neurotoxic . . ."

My personal, non-scientist's conclusion from my reading of the studies is that while there may be no lasting damage from adolescent cannabis use, to be on the safe side it's probably wise to limit that use. (Good luck convincing teenagers of that however.)

There is also a very important exception to such cautions. The evidence is building rapidly that cannabis has many medical benefits for childhood and adolescent conditions. Autism and seizure disorders are just two of the most promising.

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Subject Views Written By Posted
Cannabis and the Adolescent Brain. 325 Stephen Gray 21-Jul-17 18:37
Re: Cannabis and the Adolescent Brain. 33 Naveen 21-Jul-17 22:14
Re: Cannabis and the Adolescent Brain. 80 Stephen Gray 21-Jul-17 23:20

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