Even moderate cannabis use by adolescents can have a negative effect on cognitive function, verbal memory in particular, according to a new study.
The study, led by the University of Colorado School of Medicine, looked at siblings, and the results were published in the journal Addiction.
“We wanted to expand our understanding of whether cannabis use is related to lower cognitive functioning,” Dr. Jarrod Ellingson, said lead author of the study and a researcher in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Institute for Behavioral Genetics at the University of Colorado, according to Sci-News.com.
“There’s a large body of evidence that cannabis use is linked to cognitive functioning, but we know that cannabis use is not isolated from other important risk factors (e.g. peer group influence, parental behavior, socioeconomic status).”
In all, 1,192 adolescents from 596 families took part in the study. Sixty-four percent were male, and the participants were racially and ethnically diverse.
Clinical interviews were given to assess drug use, and cognitive abilities were then analyzed through neuropsychological tests.
The data was collected in two waves, first from participants with an average age of 17 from 2001 to 2006 and the second with an average age of 24 from 2008 to 2013.
“These studies are particularly important because cannabis is becoming more potent and more accessible as states legalize its recreational use,” Ellingson said.
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