MAY 06, 2020 3:16 PM PDT

Does Cannabis Damage Focus and Memory in Teenagers?

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

As cannabis products become more mainstream, increasing numbers of people from every age bracket are using them. Research on its effects are scarce however, making some particularly worried about how it may affect those under 25 as their brains are still developing. In particular, concerns exist on how it affects learning capabilities such as focus and memory in teenagers and young adults.

Still a scheduled substance, restrictions remain on researching how exactly cannabis interacts with the body. So far, most data on how it works comes from observational studies and anecdotes rather than clinical trials and more scientific grounding. Some studies nevertheless exist that may indicate how the substance affects focus and memory in teenagers and young adults.  

In a study conducted by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse in 2015, researchers reported a direct link between cannabis use in teenagers and losses in concentration and memory, ‘jumbled thinking’ and early signs of paranoid psychosis. 

Adding to this, a study from 2018 that found that teenagers and young adults who stopped using cannabis were able to improve their ability to learn within just a month. Those who did not stop using the substance did not improve. The researchers also found that much of this improvement happened in the first week of quitting the substance. 

Although demonstrating that cannabis does impair cognitive functioning when under its influence, marijuana legalization groups say these findings are positive as they show that its negative effects are not permanent. 

“These findings dispute the long-standing ‘stoner-stupid’ stereotype and should help to assuage fears that cannabis’ acute effects on behavior may persist long after drug ingestion, or that they may pose greater potential risks to the developing brain,” says Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. 

Others however do not see these findings in such a positive light. Dr. Sheryl A. Ryan, chairperson for American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Substance Use and Prevention, said, “We still have significant concerns about the impact of marijuana usage by teens — on their emotional and psychosocial development — and data still needs to confirm more about the possible effects on brain development and physical status,”


Sources: Healthline, The Conversation

About the Author
  • Science writer with a keen interest in behavioral biology, consciousness medicine and technology. Her current focus is how the interplay of these fields can create meaningful interactions, products and environments.
You May Also Like
MAY 14, 2021
Health & Medicine
A National Standard THC Dose for Researchers is Here
MAY 14, 2021
A National Standard THC Dose for Researchers is Here
    Whatever your stance on cannabis, almost  everyone would agree that more, better quality, research sh ...
JUN 05, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Washington State University Opens Cannabis Research Center
JUN 05, 2021
Washington State University Opens Cannabis Research Center
Washington State University (WSU) has announced the opening of a multi-disciplinary research center with nearly 100 scie ...
JUN 11, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Can Cannabis Help Regulate Your Sleep Cycle?
JUN 11, 2021
Can Cannabis Help Regulate Your Sleep Cycle?
According to the Sleep Association, around 50-70 million adults in the US have a sleep disorder. Some claim that ca ...
JUN 17, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Over Half of Delta-8 Products Contain Illegal Levels of Delta-9 THC
JUN 17, 2021
Over Half of Delta-8 Products Contain Illegal Levels of Delta-9 THC
A new study conducted by Leafreport has found that over half of Delta-8 THC hemp-derived products contain ille ...
JUN 19, 2021
Health & Medicine
Medical Cannabis Impairs Drivers No More Than Common Meds
JUN 19, 2021
Medical Cannabis Impairs Drivers No More Than Common Meds
 Most people wouldn’t think it highly irresponsible to get behind the wheel after having taken a dose of cold ...
JUL 24, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
How Does Cannabis Affect Young People with ADHD?
JUL 24, 2021
How Does Cannabis Affect Young People with ADHD?
Researchers from Stanford University have conducted a review on current research investigating adverse effects on brain ...
Loading Comments...