Marijuana Has The Same Effects On Adults and Adolescents, Study Shows

In Education

A study by King’s College London and UCL researchers has established that vaporized cannabis’s short-term effects do not differ between adults and adolescents. For the study, scientists measured how often marijuana users of different ages responded to inhaling cannabis products with different CBD levels. 

Cannabis effects in adolescents similar to those in adults

Study participants were adolescents between 16 and 17  and adults between 26 and 29 who were regular cannabis users averaging 1.5 days per week. 

The participants were exposed to three different kinds of vaporized cannabis under strict supervision. Subjects were given a cannabis variety of high in THC or CBD or a placebo for three different weeks. THC is the core psychoactive agent in cannabis and predominates both the legal and illegal markets. The subjects received doses comparable to normal recreational use. 

Researchers asked participants to report how cannabis was affecting them at fixed intervals and completed tests evaluating their verbal memory and psychotic effects such as paranoia, cognitive disorganization, or delusions. 

The study found all the anticipated marijuana effects in the THC+CBD and TCH among the participants’’ responses, including feeling anxious, showing mild short-lived psychotic-like feelings, memory impairment, and feeling high. 

Surprisingly there was no difference between cannabis responses in adolescents and adults when under the influence.  

Lead study author Dr. Will Lawn said that immediately after smoking, marijuana elicits psychotic-like experiences and impairs verbal memory with adolescents smoking marijuana being as vulnerable as adults were. Adolescence is an important developmental stage in life when an individual is at risk of developing mental problems. 

Frequent use of marijuana increases the chances of mental distress 

Frequent marijuana consumption is likely to raise the likelihood of mental distress, particularly in individuals who are susceptible to these effects. This is especially true in those who are already susceptible to these problems. Yet, crucially, our findings also show that marijuana users aged 16 to 17 were not more susceptible to the drug’s immediate negative effects than adults.

There is growing optimism that CBD could be used to shield teenage cannabis users from the negative effects of marijuana.

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