After years and years of research, scientists have at long last determined that there is a possibility, however remote, that marijuana can cause brain damage—when it's used during adolescence, a new study from University of Maryland School of Medicine and recently published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology has found.
The study, which was performed not on humans, but mice, found that when exposed to marijuana, young mice-humans "exhibited impaired cognitive abilities," the study's lead author, Sylvina Mullins Raver, wrote in a press release.
"The striking finding is that, even though the mice were exposed to very low drug doses, and only for a brief period during adolescence, their brain abnormalities persisted into adulthood," Raver wrote.
The researchers looked first at different regions of the brain—both the back, which develops first, and then the front, which develops during adolescence, said Asaf Keller, Ph.D, the study's senior author.
"We found that the frontal cortex is much more affected by the drugs during adolescence. This is the area of the brain controls executive functions such as planning and impulse control. It is also the area most affected in schizophrenia."
How does this relate to us, exactly? Ah yes. "Dr. Keller's team believes that the results have indications for humans as well."
We will certainly wait with bated breath for the team to get around to proving that the results are relevant to human beings, and not just mice wearing human clothes gripping tiny joints with their paws. But that could take ages. How can we possibly pass the time? Ah yes: