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Marijuana, memory and teen brains

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

A study indicates teens who are heavy marijuana users grow into young adulthood with abnormal brain structures and memory problems.

At the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Matthew Smith looked at data on people who used marijuana daily for about three years, starting at age 16 or 17, but who were marijuana-free for about two years at the time of the study. They did worse on memory tests than people who had not used marijuana.

Smith also found abnormalities in parts of the brain that process information in the moment and transfer it to long-term memory. And he says:

“The younger the participants were when they started using marijuana on a daily basis, the more abnormal their brain looked.”

The study in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.