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Heavy Use of Marijuana may Alter Brain Development

Sep
22

Date: September 22nd, 2016

The Hippocampus

The hippocampus is a brain portion that plays a large role in the mammals that have them. The hippocampus is shaped like a seahorse. There are two of these in each mammal brain. On each side of the brain, there is a hippocampus.
The hippocampus is a part of the limbic system. They act to help short term memories make the transition into long term memories.
The hippocampus are located beneath the cerebral cortex in humans.
When people experience extensive hippocampus damage, they stand a chance of losing the ability to retain existing memories or be able to make any new memories.
People with Alzheimer’s disease have hippocampus that are damaged. The symptoms of damage are disorientation, memory loss, and the ability to retain new information.
Teens who smoke marijuana on a regular basis risk damaging their hippocampus.

Memory Changes in Marijuana Users

When people smoke marijuana their abilities to remember things that happen are affected. The main memories affected by marijuana users are the memories of how to do the common daily activities they need to perform. These users have difficulties in figuring out problems and finding solutions to problems. They often have difficulties in sustaining familial relationships.

The study groups

The individuals participating in the study were divided into four groups.

  • People who were not marijuana users
  • Subjects who were appeared healthy but had abused marijuana for at least two years prior to the study.
  • People who suffered from schizophrenia who had abused marijuana
  • People with schizophrenia who were not marijuana users

The study required the participants to use no drug other than marijuana. The individuals listened to a story that lasted one minute. After thirty minutes lapsed the researchers questioned the participants on what they remembered from the one minute story.

The Results

The people who had never smoked marijuana before remembered twenty percent more than the people who were abusers of marijuana.
The people who suffered from schizophrenia and were marijuana users remembered 26% less of the details of the story than the people who had schizophrenia and were not marijuana users.

The Conclusions

The researchers concluded that the smoking of the marijuana on a regular, and long term basis, caused the hippocampus to become deformed in shape and size. The deformity led to memory loss, and the lack of concentration abilities when the subject was not under the influence of the drug.
More research would have to be done before it can be said that smoking marijuana will assuredly cause future memory loss, but the data that was collected during this study seems to show that smoking marijuana on a regular basis can slow the development of a growing teen by altering the physical shape, and size, of some of the important parts of the human brain.

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