Early Marijuana Use Found To Lower IQ
A new study reveals that early marijuana use can cause abnormal brain function and lower IQ scores.
In a study conducted by scientists from London, the results showed that those participants who used marijuana from a young age had highly abnormal brain function in areas related to visuo-spatial processing, memory, self-referential activity and reward processing.
Furthermore, the study found that early marijuana use was also associated with lower IQ scores.
These findings were confirmed by Dr. Elizabeth Osuch, a Scientist at Lawson Health Research Institute who said, “These findings suggest that using marijuana does not correct the brain abnormalities or symptoms of depression and using it from an early age may have an abnormal effect not only on brain function, but also on IQ.”
Marijuana is one of the most abused drugs in the world. In fact, marijuana use remains on the rise among US college students.
The word “marijuana” comes from the Indian hemp plant, and the part that contains the “drug” is found primarily in the flowers and much less in the seeds, leaves, and stems of the plant.
The Study and Other Key Results
To probe further on the effects of marijuana and depression on psychiatric symptoms, brain function and cognitive function, the study invited teens as participants.
The participants were divided into four groups: those with depression who were not marijuana users; those with depression who were frequent marijuana users; frequent marijuana users without depression; and healthy individuals who were not marijuana users. These participants were also later divided into youth who started using marijuana before the age of 17 and those who began using it later or not at all.
Aside from that, the participants underwent psychiatric, cognitive and IQ testing as well as brain scanning.
Now, here are the interesting results!
Aside that early marijuana use is linked with low IQ and abnormal brain function, the scientists also found out there is no evidence that marijuana use improved depressive symptoms. The study showed there was no difference in psychiatric symptoms between those with depression who used marijuana and those with depression who did not use marijuana.
In addition, the results showed differences in brain function among the four groups in areas of the brain that relate to reward-processing and motor control.