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420 with CNW — Teenage Brains More Susceptible to Cannabis Harm

Only 35% of 12- to-17-year-olds believe that smoking cannabis at least twice a week carries a major risk, according to the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). This low perception of risk among teenagers is concerning and is partly fueled by the widespread availability of marijuana, leading to the mistaken belief that it is entirely safe, states Beth Ebel, a pediatrician affiliated with Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington School of Medicine.

The main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, THC, alters brain chemistry to produce a “high.” The THC may have unexpected consequences on the brain, especially in young people, according to Ebel, who highlights that these effects could result in addiction and psychosis as well as other long-term health problems.

Notably, THC concentrations in modern cannabis plants are far higher than in previous generations; the potency can reach 20% or more. Furthermore, THC levels in concentrated marijuana products such as shatter and wax can reach up to 95%, which makes them much more potent and worthy of their own classification, according to Yasmin Hurd, a neuroscientist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

The adolescent phase is especially precarious for marijuana use, given the ongoing development of the brain, notes Hurd. At this point, the brain experiences major changes, including the formation of new connections, the strengthening of preexisting ones and the pruning away of superfluous ones. THC, however, interferes with the endocannabinoid mechanism, which is essential for brain growth and other physiological processes, severely affecting this developing process. Research on growing brains — both in people and animals — shows that THC has deleterious effects that result in long-term deficits in learning and memory.

For instance, a 2019 study by Hurd and her team on THC-injected teenage rats revealed abnormal nerve cell connections in the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain essential for emotional control and problem-solving. Similarly, teens’ prefrontal cortex thinning was shown to be accelerated in marijuana users’ MRI scans, a sign of aberrant brain development, according to a 2021 study.

In addition to impairing cognition, teenage cannabis use increases the likelihood of mental-health issues such as anxiety and sadness, according to a 2023 study. Notably, individuals with marijuana-use disorder are more prone to experiencing mental-health issues, with higher rates of depression and suicidal thoughts observed among adolescents who misuse marijuana.

Furthermore, the age at which marijuana use first occurs has a substantial impact on the risk of developing a marijuana use disorder, with adolescents showing a higher vulnerability than young adults.

Teenage cannabis usage frequently results from coping mechanisms for different stressors, including anxiety or sadness, highlighting the intricate relationship between substance abuse and mental health. Misuse of cannabis, however, can worsen symptoms related to mental health, creating a harmful cycle of greater usage and elevated anxiety.

Daily cannabis usage during adolescence is linked to negative effects in adulthood, including substance misuse, suicidal thoughts and reduced educational attainment, according to longitudinal research. Additionally, there is evidence linking marijuana addiction to the development of schizophrenia. Specifically, young boys are more likely to experience an association between marijuana use disorder and new occurrences of schizophrenia.

These concerns about the potential effects of cannabis on teenage brains illustrates why licensed cannabis companies such as Prime Harvest Inc. implement stringent age-verification systems so that only those of age can purchase products from their retail outlets.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Prime Harvest Inc. are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/PRIME

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of an article each business day at 4:20 p.m. Eastern – a tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. The concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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