Marijuana (Cannabinoids)

Cannabis and the risk of neuropsychological decline

Fewer adolescents believe that regular cannabis use is harmful to health.

Researchers at the University of Oregon, in Eugene, studied the association between persistent cannabis use and neuropsychological (language, memory, and perception) decline.

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First, the details.

  • 1,037 individuals were followed from birth (1972/1973) to age 38 years.
  • Cannabis use was ascertained in interviews at ages 18, 21, 26, 32, and 38 years.
  • Neuropsychological testing was conducted at age 13 years, before initiation of cannabis use, and again at age 38 years, after a pattern of persistent cannabis use had developed.

And, the results.

  • Persistent cannabis use was associated with neuropsychological decline, even after controlling for years of education.
    • There were more reported cognitive problems for persistent cannabis users.
  • Impairment was concentrated among adolescent-onset cannabis users.
    • More persistent use was associated with greater decline.
  • Further, cessation of cannabis use did not fully restore neuropsychological functioning among adolescent-onset cannabis users.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Findings are suggestive of a neurotoxic effect of cannabis on the adolescent brain and highlight the importance of prevention and policy efforts targeting adolescents.”

Sadly, as discussed here, many people are ignorant of the risks associated with smoking pot. It’s time to face reality.

8/28/12 14:41 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.