Using Marijuana in Adolescence May Further Alter Brain Structure

Man smoking marijuana
Man smoking marijuana
The next step is to determine whether the brain changes are due to a preexisting condition or marijuana use.

The link between long-term marijuana use and altered brain structure may depend on the age at first use and duration of use, new imaging research suggests.

A study of 110 adult participants show that long-term marijuana users have reduced gray matter volume and increased structural and functional connectivity in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), a brain region responsible for decision making, compared with nonusers. The findings also suggest that early onset of regular marijuana use may be associated with increased functional connectivity in white matter, whereas long duration of marijuana use might be tied to decreased structural connectivity.

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