Cannabis Adolescent Harms

Cannabis use in adolescence can have harmful effects on neuropsychological functioning

A team of researchers from New Zealand, the UK and USA in a Dunedin study found that adolescents who started using cannabis had a deficit in their IQ when in adulthood.

IQ results of the same persistent cannabis users at age 13 were lower at age 38.

(Source: The Independent, UK 28 August 2012)


This New Zealand study confirms other research on the long term harms of early cannabis use.

Continuous cannabis use can cause permanent brain deficiency and memory loss.

There is no research that points to this damage being able to be reversed later in life.

Adolescents that are already using cannabis need drug rehabilitation to get them free of the damage.

Adolescents that have not commenced cannabis use need accurate information on the long term harms of cannabis to dissuade them from ever commencing.

Those currently advocating legalizing cannabis must recognize these harms and accept the scientific research that opposes any expansion of cannabis use.

Cannabis use causes risks to the wider community by putting more drugged drivers on the road therefore it can never be considered a health issue.

Cannabis Risks

Psychiatrists in the USA have outlined the harm of cannabis use-

One in ten users becoming dependent and higher dependency with more use

More use with any social acceptability

Stronger toxins in cannabis causing more health problems

Aggravation of schizophrenia and other health problems

More traffic accidents

Teenager use leading to brain damage

Withdrawal difficulties for addicted users with high relapse rates

(Source: American Journal of Psychiatry 6 June 2012 commentary)


In Australia cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug, accordingly the risks to users are high.

Drugged driving has a higher impact on non-users involved in vehicle collisions with drug impaired drivers.

Cannabis is a gateway drug to other illicit drug use so the health and dependence impacts to users will compound.

Teenager users risk brain damage by using cannabis whilst their brains are not fully developed.

Legalized or medicalized cannabis acceptance will lead to a substantial increase in the number of users and the costs to the community.

Australia needs to substantially reduce the number of cannabis users.

Diversion into drug rehabilitation to reduce the number of cannabis users is the only way to help the addicts break their habit.

Drug rehabilitation must be timely and effective in getting cannabis users to quit permanently and saving the community the increased trauma.

Cannabis Causes Brain Damage

An Australian scientific study using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has shown brain damage in long term cannabis users.

The brain damage involved memory impairment, concentration and learning deficiencies.

The study looked at cannabis users that had been using cannabis for 15 years and compared the MRI images with those of non-users.

Some users started using cannabis as early as 10 years of age and were more seriously affected.

(Source: Australian Associated Press medical report, 10 August 2012)


This latest research adds to previous evidence that brain damage to the hippocampus area of the brain occurred in heavy cannabis users.

The earlier that people developed their cannabis addiction the worse the brain damage.

As well with stronger THC toxins in modern cannabis then there is likelihood of more extensive brain damage.

With children as young as 10 commencing using cannabis there is a likelyhood that the brain damage will be more extensive.

As well children’s brains do not mature until their mid-twenties so the brain damage from early cannabis use is more likely.

This evidence needs to be taught to children before they commence any drug use to dissuade them from never starting.

Early intervention programs aimed at stopping all drug use are essential to protect these cannabis users from the damaged brains.

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