Marijuana and Memory

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Story Updated: Dec 17, 2013

Teenagers who start smoking marijuana early and often may be doing serious damage to their growing brains.

Researchers followed 97 teens who started smoking pot daily between 16 and 17 years of age...and continued for about three years. At the time of the study, they had been marijuana free for about two years.

Using MRI...the team was able to look deep into the brains of each participant to assess any abnormalities in the area that controls memory.

Excessive, daily marijuana was found to change the brain...actually shrinking memory related structures.

Participants also did poorly on memory tests, backing up what was seen on the scans. The younger the marijuana abuse began, the more abnormal the brain appeared.

In fact, some of the brain changes actually looked those found with schizophrenia.

Researchers say marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug and young adults have the highest prevalence of use.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the news that can help you stay healthy, happy, and fit.

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The UHS Sports Medicine Program specializes in diagnosing and treating orthopedic and sports-related injuries, providing care on an outpatient basis. The program combines the expertise of certified athletic trainers and physical therapists, who work closely with sports medicine physicians on our medical staff to help patients resume their physical activities as soon as possible.