Weed Psychosis ‘Potentially Reversible’, Says Study

As cannabis undergoes a wave of legalization, researchers are confirming it can cause debilitating issues, especially on the forming adolescent brain, yet such changes may also be reversible in some circumstances.

Cannabis use has been associated with damaging the maturation of cognitive functions, such as working memory, decision-making, and impulsivity control.

This is a highly vulnerable period for the development of the brain as it represents a critical period wherein regulatory connection between higher-order regions of the cortex and emotional processing circuits deeper inside the brain are established.

It is a period of strong remodeling, making adolescents highly vulnerable to drug-related developmental disturbances.

Interestingly, a team of researchers in Canada has found that administration of drugs that restore normal pre-frontal cortex function in early adulthood could reverse the effects of adolescent THC exposure.

They also demonstrated that co-administering THC with drugs that prevent the THC-induced disruption in brain signaling pathways prevented the development of schizophrenia-like effects.

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These results offer insights into ways to prevent or reverse THC-induced brain signaling defects in adolescents.

Adolescent cannabis use is associated with behavioral changes related to reward and motivation in humans.

Paradoxically, this use has both been suggested to increase motivation for other drug use (the gateway hypothesis) and a potential “amotivation syndrome” in which individuals are less willing to expend effort to receive a reward.

Research shows that adolescent cannabis use is widespread, and associated with defects in working memory, self-control and motivation.

Similar results were obtained in animal studies, through which researchers were also able to test therapies that can reverse the effects of adolescent cannabis use in adulthood.

These findings hope to provide the keys to prevent and treat the long term effect of adolescent cannabis use.

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