Wednesday February 20, 2019

Cannabis Use Has Lasting Effects on Cognitive Skills in Teenagers Than Alcohol

Moreover, these increased with cannabis use and also were long-lasting compared to alcohol

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cannabis flower marijuana

While both alcohol and marijuana misuse are known to be associated with impairments in learning, memory, attention and decision-making, as well as with lower academic performance, a new study claimed that cannabis use has lasting effects on cognitive skills in teenagers than alcohol.

The findings, led by researchers at Universite de Montreal, showed cannabis affected cognitive functions such as perceptual reasoning, memory recall, working memory and inhibitory control.

Moreover, these increased with cannabis use and also were long-lasting compared to alcohol.

“Increases in cannabis use, but not alcohol consumption, showed additional concurrent and lagged effects on cognitive functions such as perceptual reasoning, memory recall, working memory and inhibitory control,” said Patricia Conrod, from the varsity.

“Of particular concern was the finding that cannabis use was associated with lasting effects on a measure of inhibitory control, which is a risk factor for other addictive behaviours, and might explain why early onset cannabis use is a risk factor for other addictions,” added Jean-Francois G. Morin, doctoral student at Montreal.

Cannabis
Cannabis more ‘toxic’ to teenage brains than alcohol: Study. Pixabay

“Some of these effects are even more pronounced when consumption begins earlier in adolescence,” Morin added.

For the study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the team followed a sample of 3,826 Canadian high school students from 7th to 10th grade over a period of four years.

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In a context where policies and attitudes regarding substance use are being reconsidered, this research highlights the importance of protecting youth from the adverse effects of consumption through greater investment in drug-prevention programmes.

“While this study did not detect effects of teenage alcohol consumption on cognitive development, the neurotoxic effects may be observable in specific subgroups differentiated based on the level of consumption, gender or age,” Morin said. (IANS)

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Early Onset of Drinking May Lead to Alcohol Dependence, Says Study

To prevent or delay early onset of drinking, more should be known about the modifiable circumstances that enable these behaviours

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In the experiments, rats were trained to drink alcohol in a way that mimics human binge-drinking behaviour. Pixabay

Early onset of drinking and intoxication may lead to heavy drinking and alcohol dependence among people, warn researchers from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in the US.

Researchers concluded this in a study on the correlation between early age (less than 15 years) and contexts of first intoxication such as one’s own home, friends’ homes or outdoor settings, and the problems that arise in these contexts.

For their research, the team studied 405 adolescent (aged 15-18 years) drinkers.

According to the findings, published in the journal Substance Use & Misuse, about one-third of adolescent drinkers experienced their first intoxication by the age of 15, about one-third experienced it after 15, and about one-third had consumed alcohol but never to the stage of intoxication.

A new drug can reduce Alcohol addiction in teenagers
Early age drinking linked to alcohol dependence: Study. Pixabay

In addition, drinkers reported drinking most frequently at homes, followed by outdoor settings, and then in restaurants, bars or nightclubs.

The early age of first intoxication was found to be strongly linked to drinking in outdoor settings, but not to drinking at home.

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The results of the study emphasise importance of contexts in early alcohol initiation and the resulting problems to inform development of preventive interventions specific to contexts, said Lipperman-Kreda, a researcher from the varsity.

To prevent or delay early onset of drinking, more should be known about the modifiable circumstances that enable these behaviours, the study suggested. (IANS)