(HealthDay) – Adolescents who stop smoking can later think and learn better, even if they are just light users, a new study reports.
Compared to teenagers and young adults who continued to consume marijuana, those who abstained for a month showed "a modest but reliable improvement in their ability to learn," said senior researcher Randi Schuster.
"Most of this improvement happens surprisingly within the first week of abstinence," added Schuster, director of neuropsychology at the Massachusetts General Hospital of the Center for Addiction Medicine.
The results show that children should be discouraged from using pot, Schuster said. This is a growing concern as recreational marijuana becomes legal in more US states, she added.
"If we move towards widespread legalization as a country, we should pay attention to intelligent prevention programming for children," Schuster said.
The researchers cited a survey from 201
The maturation of critical parts of the brain occurs during puberty, and the regular use of pots in those years can do more harm than later use, researchers said in background notes.
Advocates of marijuana legalization disagreed that the new study supports their claim that the effects of Pott are temporary.
"These conclusions are in line with previous studies suggesting that exposure to cannabis is unlikely to be associated with a lasting effect on the brain or cognitive performance," said Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML.
"These findings call into question the longtime" stoner-stupid "stereotype and should help to dampen fears that cannabis could have an acute effect on behavior long after taking medication or that it may be a higher one pose a potential risk to the developing brain, "said Armentano.
For their study, Schuster and her colleagues surveyed two thirds of a group of 88 marijuana users aged 16 to 25 years drop pot for one month.
The participants from the Boston region were not all strong users but used regularly. "We have children who need at least one day a week or more," said Schuster.
Urine testing has shown that 9 out of 10 respondents have kept their promise to discontinue the pot for the study period.
Once a week, the young people participated in computerized brain games where their attention and memory were tested to see if stopping pot use would improve brain function.
The computer tests showed that memory – especially the ability to learn and remember new information – improves only for those who have stopped consuming cannabis. The improvement largely occurred in the first week.
The study showed only a connection between cessation of potency and better learning ability, no direct cause-and-effect relationship. Nevertheless, experts take note of the results.
"Cannabis use affects learning and memory, and this study showed improvement in those areas after it quit," Dr. Scott Krakower, Deputy Head of Psychiatry at Sugar Hillside Hospital, Glen Oaks, NY
"This research can motivate practitioners to encourage their patients to stop marijuana and maintain abstinence," said Krakower.
The cessation of marijuana, however, did not seem to affect the attendees' attention. Both groups developed similarly in this area.
Future studies will examine whether memory recovery makes marijuana biter fully functional by comparing it to teenagers who have never come first, Schuster said.
"What we do not know if they are back on par with their non-occupying colleagues this week, or is there a deficit that is still measurable?" Schuster said.
The study appears in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry of October 30 .
One-month abstinence from cannabis improves the memory of adolescents and young adults
Randi Melissa Schuster et al., One Month of Cannabis Abstinence in Adolescents and Young Adults Associates with Improved Memory The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (2018). DOI: 10.4088 / JCP.17m11977