Montreal Research into Teenage Cannabis Use Found Lower Memory, Reasoning Scores – LPC
A cannabis research project surveyed 3,826 students in Montreal and area every year from grade 7 to grade 11. The survey included questions about cannabis use, alcohol use, and frequency on a six-point scale from “never” to “every day”. Researchers also tested the kids’ memory, visual reasoning skills, and inhibition levels.
Not only did the researchers find a definite link between teenage cannabis use and poorer test scores, they also found a correlation in frequency. The more often students used cannabis, the worse their relative scores were. The research project did not find the same results in connection with alcohol use.
Research Project Limited – LPC
The researchers admitted that their findings about teenage cannabis use were limited. They couldn’t accurately measure key things such as amount of cannabis used or the THC potency. The survey took place when cannabis was illegal, so there wouldn’t have been an accurate way to measure.
Newsweek interviewed Ian Hamilton, a researcher (not involved with this project) and senior lecturer in Department of Health Sciences at the University of York. He agreed there were limitations to the work.
“We also don’t know how many young people just happened to use cannabis at the time the researchers assessed them,” Hamilton said. “Equally, there could be young people who weren’t using cannabis at the point of assessment but did use cannabis at other times between assessments. We just don’t know.”
Still, the research highlights the importance of reducing teenage cannabis use.
“The work highlights some of the cognitive problems young people experience at a point in their life when they need optimal memory, problem-solving, and concentration to ensure they maximize their educational potential,” he said. “Cannabis appears to impair their cognitive ability.”
The Newsweek article comes out as the United States considers legalizing cannabis federally. Other countries including New Zealand are currently considering legalizing cannabis for adult use. One of the biggest fears around the world is that legalization will lead to large spikes in cannabis use, something that has already been found to be false in Canada.
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