February 26, 2020

Even A Little Pot Changes the Volume of Teenage Brains
“The implication is that this is potentially a consequence of cannabis use. You’re changing your brain with just one or two joints.

~ Dr. Hugh Garavan, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Vermont

Because marijuana is now legal in California and use is so common, many parents view it as a minor vice, very much like alcohol. If they smoked pot when they were younger—or do now—they may even believe that experimentation by teenagers  is just a rite of passage.

However, a brand-new survey suggests that for teens and young adults, there is NO SUCH THING as safe marijuana use.  University of Vermont researchers discovered that even very light pot use alters the volume of gray matter volume in specific parts of the brain.

Most profoundly affected are the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with emotionality and fear, and the hippocampus, responsible for memory development. This new research could explain why young people who regularly smoke weed may:

  • Lose IQ points.
  • Develop memory problems.
  • Experience extreme anxiety.
  • Suffer mental illness.
  • Be prone to violence.
  • Deal with depression.

Especially relevant is the fact that these brain changes were measurable even after very light marijuana use, such as only once or twice by age 14.

Because the human brain isn’t fully matured until the mid-20s, this is yet another piece of scientific evidence highlighting how this “minor” drug has a far greater impact than most people realize.

What Does This Mean to Orange County Residents?
“Most people would likely assume that one or two joints would have no impact on the brain…Consuming just one or two joints seems to change gray matter volumes in these young adolescents.”

~ Dr.Garavan

Cannabis use and abuse is extremely common in California, and Orange County is no exception. For example, around 1 out of 6 11th-graders statewide admits to being a current marijuana user. This is important, because marijuana use before age 18 leads to a risk of dependence or addiction that is up to 7 times higher.

By the most conservative estimates, there are approximately 32,000 people in Orange County whose use of marijuana has worsened to abuse.  This means that it is very probable that someone you care about has a problem with weed.

But if you live in Southern California, there is a reputable local resource that can provide the help and support you need— Teensavers. Since 1978, Teensavers has been the leading drug rehab program in Orange County, helping young people and families in crisis because of addictive or mental health disorders.

Marijuana may be legal in California, but that still doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for everyone, especially teenagers and young adults.  To get immediate help, contact Teensavers Treatment Centers TODAY.

Teensavers – “Transforming Lives…”

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