A new study by the University of Montreal, published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, reveals that the use of cannabis among teenagers causes long-term damage to the brain, more significantly than alcohol.
We know that both alcohol and drugs are harmful to the brain, and especially in adolescence when the brains of young people are still developing. Many studies showed that the use of these substances directly affects people’s cognitive skills such as learning, attention, or decision making.
For their new research, the scientists from the University of Montreal gathered a total of 3800 teenagers from 31 different colleges. The participants provided data on their alcohol and drug consumption habits for one year. The scientists estimated to what extent cannabis is affecting teenagers’ brains in comparison to alcohol.
The new research revealed that cannabis consumption affects teenagers’ brains even more than alcohol
According to Professor Patricia J. Conrod, the study’s leading author, 75 percent of the participants in the research drink alcohol, while only 28 percent consume cannabis. However, she concluded that the cognitive issues linked to cannabis exceeded those triggered by alcohol and that the effects are lasting much longer on those who consume cannabis compared to those who drink alcohol.
This study among young people is vitally important because their brains have not yet fully developed. In statements to the BBC, Conrod assures that adolescents “should delay as much as possible the use of cannabis since it is interfering with the development of their brain.”
The leading author of the study is in favor of increasing prevention programmes in schools and colleges as, by far, cannabis is the most widely used illegal substance across the world. According to Professor Conrod, addiction to this drug could be immediate, and the cannabis consumption is linked to the onset of psychotic illnesses, especially in teenagers.