Navigation Links
Perception of marijuana as a 'safe drug' is scientifically inaccurate
Date:8/26/2013

This news release is available in French.

The nature of the teenage brain makes users of cannabis amongst this population particularly at risk of developing addictive behaviors and suffering other long-term negative effects, according to researchers at the University of Montreal and New York's Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

"Of the illicit drugs, cannabis is most used by teenagers since it is perceived by many to be of little harm. This perception has led to a growing number of states approving its legalization and increased accessibility. Most of the debates and ensuing policies regarding cannabis were done without consideration of its impact on one of the most vulnerable population, namely teens, or without consideration of scientific data," wrote Professor Didier Jutras-Aswad of the University of Montreal and Yasmin Hurd, MD, PhD, of Mount Sinai. "While it is clear that more systematic scientific studies are needed to understand the long-term impact of adolescent cannabis exposure on brain and behavior, the current evidence suggests that it has a far-reaching influence on adult addictive behaviors particularly for certain subsets of vulnerable individuals."

The researchers reviewed over 120 studies that looked at different aspects of the relationship between cannabis and the adolescent brain, including the biology of the brain, chemical reaction that occurs in the brain when the drug is used, the influence of genetics and environmental factors, in addition to studies into the "gateway drug" phenomenon. "Data from epidemiological studies have repeatedly shown an association between cannabis use and subsequent addiction to heavy drugs and psychosis (i.e. schizophrenia). Interestingly, the risk to develop such disorders after cannabis exposure is not the same for all individuals and is correlated with genetic factors, the intensity of cannabis use and the age at which it occurs. When the first exposure occurs in younger versus older adolescents, the impact of cannabis seems to be worse in regard to many outcomes such as mental health, education attainment, delinquency and ability to conform to adult role," Dr Jutras-Aswad said.

Although it is difficult to confirm in all certainty a causal link between drug consumption and the resulting behavior, the researchers note that rat models enable scientists to explore and directly observe the same chemical reactions that happen in human brains. Cannabis interacts with our brain through chemical receptors (namely cannabinoid receptors such as CB1 and CB2.) These receptors are situated in the areas of our brain that govern our learning and management of rewards, motivated behavior, decision-making, habit formation and motor function. As the structure of the brain changes rapidly during adolescence (before settling in adulthood), scientists believe that the cannabis consumption at this time greatly influences the way these parts of the user's personality develop. In adolescent rat models, scientists have been able to observe differences in the chemical pathways that govern addiction and vulnerability a receptor in the brain known as the dopamine D2 receptor is well known to be less present in cases of substance abuse.

Only a minority (approximately one in four) of teenage users of cannabis will develop an abusive or dependant relationship with the drug. This suggests to the researchers that specific genetic and behavioral factors influence the likelihood that the drug use will continue. Studies have also shown that cannabis dependence can be inherited through the genes that produce the cannabinoid receptors and an enzyme involved in the processing of THC. Other psychological factors are also likely involved. "Individuals who will develop cannabis dependence generally report a temperament characterized by negative affect, aggressivity and impulsivity, from an early age. Some of these traits are often exacerbated with years of cannabis use, which suggests that users become trapped in a vicious cycle of self-medication, which in turn becomes a dependence" Jutras-Aswad said.

The researchers stress that while a lot remains unknown about the mechanics of cannabis abuse, the body of existing research has clear implications for society. "It is now clear from the scientific data that cannabis is not harmless to the adolescent brain, specifically those who are most vulnerable from a genetic or psychological standpoint. Identifying these vulnerable adolescents, including through genetic or psychological screening, may be critical for prevention and early intervention of addiction and psychiatric disorders related to cannabis use. The objective is not to fuel the debate about whether cannabis is good or bad, but instead to identify those individuals who might most suffer from its deleterious effects and provide adequate measures to prevent this risk" Jutras-Aswad said. "Continuing research should be performed to inform public policy in this area. Without such systematic, evidenced-based research to understand the long-term effects of cannabis on the developing brain, not only the legal status of cannabis will be determined on uncertain ground, but we will not be able to innovate effective treatments such as the medicinal use of cannabis plant components that might be beneficial for treating specific disorders," Dr Hurd said.


'/>"/>

Contact: William Raillant-Clark
rw.raillantclark@gmail.com
514-566-3813
University of Montreal
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Study challenges popular perception of new hookup culture on college campuses
2. Penn Medicine researchers discover link between fear and sound perception
3. New BUSM study explores providers perceptions of parental concerns about HPV vaccination
4. Cosmetic Vaginal Surgeons, Dr. Miklos and Dr. Moore evaluate the preoperative perceptions and postoperative expectations of 550 patients who are considering a labiaplasty
5. Perceptions of health improve with pension receipt, researcher says
6. Depression after heart attack: Threat perception has to be addressed
7. Obese but happy gene challenges the common perception of link between depression and obesity
8. A new European network crosses the boundaries for excellence in language and perception research
9. Womens body talk: Perception stronger than reality?
10. Penn researchers find error reporting improves perceptions of safety and may reduce incidents
11. Doctors and rheumatoid arthritis patients differ on perception of disease activity
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/9/2016)... NY (PRWEB) , ... December 09, 2016 , ... ... and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) is recommending the film Whispering Spirits ... and the District of Columbia as an education tool in the war against teen ...
(Date:12/9/2016)... ... December 09, 2016 , ... ... Pierre Hotel in New York, NY, on December 3rd, to benefit Holy Name ... attended the annual event, which raised over $1 million - the largest event ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... Quality Insights beginning January 1, 2017. The name change aligns the entire ... measuring and improving health care quality. , “We are very proud of the ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... pleased to announce that “Natural Language Processing–Enabled and Conventional Data Capture Methods for ... JMIR Medical Informatics . , Results of the comparative usability study demonstrate ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... ... With the increasing demand for dental implants, the National Association of Dental ... dentists and patients about the safety issues related to dental restorations. According to the ... is projected to reach $6.4 billion in 2018 with more than 30 million Americans ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/9/2016)... DIEGO , Dec. 9, 2016 aTyr Pharma, Inc. ... discovery and development of Physiocrine-based therapeutics to address severe, rare diseases, ... at the upcoming BMO Prescriptions for Success Healthcare Conference at the ... on Wednesday, December 14, 2016, at 4:20 p.m. ET. ... ...
(Date:12/9/2016)... , Dec. 9, 2016  Axovant Sciences Ltd. ... biopharmaceutical company focused on the treatment of dementia, ... from a Phase 2b trial evaluating treatment with ... compared with donepezil plus placebo in people with ... addition of intepirdine to treatment was associated with ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , Dec. 8, 2016 Australia Glaucoma ... GlobalData,s new report, "Australia Glaucoma Surgery Devices ... on the Australia Glaucoma Surgery Devices market. The ... volume (in units) and average prices (USD) within ... report also provides company shares and distribution shares ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: