Neurological and Psychological Affects of Cannabis on the Adolescent Brain…
Neurological and Psychological Affects of Cannabis on the Adolescent Brain: Current Findings
Paragraph 1: Introduction
: Regular cannabis consumption during adolescence compromises normal neurological and psychological development.
Increased deficits in neurocognitive structure and function.
Increased risk of mental health problems.
Poor life-outcomes compared to abstinent peers.
Neurocognitive deficits caused associated with adolescent cannabis use.
Adolescents with cannabis use disorder showed decreased functional connectivity between the Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC) and the Orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) (Camchong, Lin, & Kumra, 2016)
Functional connectivity between these two regions is linked to integration of behavioural constructs needed to sustain cognitive control/abstinence over learned associations and behaviour; results in cognitive control deficit in adolescents with CUD.
Regular cannabis use during adolescence induces abnormally high amygdalae responses to negative facial expressions similar to those seen in adults with major depressive disorder. (Spechler et. al, 2015)
14-year-olds with a history of cannabis use showed hyperactive bilateral amygdala response to angry compared to neutral faces in a facial processing task; effect was not observed in abstinent peers.
Indicates that adolescents who use cannabis have hypersensitivity to situations that seem potentially threatening, even in the absence of any danger.
Adolescent cannabis users experience abnormal cortical maturation (Epstein & Kumra, 2015)
Both non-psychotic and psychotic adolescents with CUD showed cortical attenuation in late developing brain areas including the HASC which are critical for higher level functions such as working memory, language, and attention.
The healthy adolescent brain experiences cortical thinning in these areas as a result of important brain maturation processes such as synaptic pruning and loss of glial cells to enhance synaptic efficiency
greater cortical thickness in cannabis using adolescents indicated deficits in these processes which hinder the development of higher level cognitive functioning
Increased Risk of Mental Health Problems
Adolescent cannabis use is associated with psychotic experiences. (Schubart et. al, 2011)
Increased risk not seen in individuals who begin using cannabis after 18 years of age; sensitive period of development.
Also increased likelihood of manifestation into full psychotic disorders in adulthood.
Cannabis may have a role in mediating schizophrenia liability in adolescent males. (French et. al, 2015)
Risk is primarily for adolescents who already have susceptibility to Schizophrenia.
Adolescents are highly susceptible to Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome (Chesney et. al, 2014).
Variety of symptoms
Poor life-outcomes compared to abstinent peers (Fergusson & Boden, 2008)
Individuals who regularly use cannabis during adolescence are less likely to lead successful careers.
Regular/increasing frequency of cannabis use from ages 14 to 25 has been associated with higher levels of unemployment and lower postsecondary degree attainment by age 25. (Fergusson & Boden, 2008)
Adolescent cannabis users are more likely to engage in risky sexual-behaviours that persist into adulthood (Agrawal et. al, 2016).
As adults, women who used cannabis regularly in adolescence are more likely to report repeated unprotected sex.
Regular cannabis use during adolescence is associated with lower levels of relationship satisfaction. (Fergusson & Boden, 2008)
Based on self-reported data at the age of 25.