Heavy marijuana use causes poor memory and abnormal brain structure, study says
Daily marijuana use has a measurable effect on the brain, a new study finds. Photo by Dean J. Koepfler/Tacoma News Tribune/MCT via Getty Images.
Teenagers who smoked marijuana daily for three years performed poorly on memory tasks and showed abnormal changes in brain structure, according to a Northwestern Medicine study.
Researchers in Chicago observed the memory-related structures in the users brains appear to shrink and collapse inward, which could indicate a decrease in neurons.
These abnormalities were recorded two years after the teens stopped using marijuana, possibly indicating long-term effects, and look similar to schizophrenia-related brain abnormalities.
The brains were shaped more abnormally for individuals who began marijuana use at a younger age, according to the reports, which suggest that memory regions of the brain are more susceptible to the drug at earlier ages.