Youth pot consumers produce higher levels of stress proteins
What is the protein that produces higher levels of stress in youth today?
18-kDa (TSPO) is the protein that is an indicator of depression, anxiety, and stress.
Twenty-four people in their mid-20’s who used cannabis at least four times during the week and were consumers for a minimum of one year were part of a study conducted by CAMH. Researchers looked into the effect of cannabis on young users and have determined that there were elevated levels of the brain protein 18-kDa trans-locator protein (TSPO) when compared to youth that did not use cannabis.
The protein has so far been linked to depression, stress, brain inflammation, and Alzheimer disease, and while the research that around cannabis use and its effects on the developing brain is relatively new, the results of this study were consistent throughout but revealed little overall. Other studies in the past have indicated that marijuana is the most illicit drug in the world, and knowing that, it is hard to believe that we know so very little about the effects of cannabis on the brain of young users. Most of whom will continue to develop until the age of 25.
The CAMH is the first study to investigate the association between neuroimmune function on the brain and marijuana. Dr. Mizrahi, part of the team conducting the testing, agrees that many more studies are needed. He notes that further research will aid in understanding the importance of cannabinoids on neuroimmune signaling.
The long-term effects of marijuana on the developing brain from what we can tell so far, suggest that marijuana exposure during the development of the brain can cause long-term or permanent adverse changes. These changes are noted only in the developing brains of the youth consumers.
When rats were given THC before birth, soon after, and during the adolescent period, they showed a noticeable problem. Specific learning and memory tasks were noticeably adversely affected later on in life. The adverse effects of marijuana on the developing brain have been investigated and can be associated with the connectivity and reduced number of specific brain regions that involve the executive functions of the brain. Some of these functions include learning memory and impulse control. The study results were compared to youth that does not use cannabis.
The question remains as to whether or not long term effects of weed use can cause lasting damage to the brain of an underage consumer
It is known that the adolescence brain matures in several different ways which is believed to help make the brain more capable and robust for executive functions such as displaying emotional self-control. To date some studies seem to suggest cannabis use among the younger population could disrupt the maturing process.
Dr. Sharmard Charles MD reports in his study that the use of marijuana as few as one or two times can alter the teen's brain. The study incorporated the brains of 46 youths, male and female from England, France, Ireland, and Germany. The findings reported the teenager that admitted to using cannabis recreationally displayed increased volume in numerous brain regions when administered an MRI. Specific differences were noted in the brain regions of youths tested, involving emotion-related learning, which are responsible for forming memories and processing signals to and from the brain. The results of this study are published in the Journal of Neuroscience.