A Promising Study: The Effects of Cannabis on the Teenager’s Brain

I often sit with young people in my office who are quick to point out the positive effects of smoking pot. Pretty mired in their opinion, my caution to them always comes with amount of use. Smoking pot socially looks a whole lot different than smoking it in a chronic way; any time that we are relying on an outside substance to manage our emotional health, we move to dysfunction and not to growth. 

In an article entitled “Halifax researcher studies how cannabis affects brain function in young adults” by Aly Thomson and featured on CBC News, we meet Dr. Philip Tibbo, a professor of psychiatry, who is conducting a study with researchers at Western University in London, Ont. It involves 180 people in both provinces between 18-35 who use cannabis to varying degrees.

Tibbo remarks “Each area of the brain doesn’t work independently — it’s all interacting. It’s very complex. If you have more dysfunctional connections, the brain is not working the way that it should be.”

“What I usually say clinically is if you’re going to be smoking, you’re doing it because it’s supposed to be a pleasurable experience,” he said.
“But if you’re smoking pot and you’re getting a bit more paranoid, or you’re feeling a little bit more sketchy, well then perhaps there’s some vulnerability there to have negative outcomes, and is that because of the effects of cannabis on your brain white matter? He said he hopes the study will eventually arm adolescents and young adults with more information to make informed decisions about cannabis use.”

In a similar article entitled “Your brain on cannabis: Halifax researcher probes effects on white matter, behaviour” by John McPhee and featured on The Telegram, Tibbo (who treats teenagers and young adults with significant psychiatric disorders such as early phase psychosis) notes:

“I figure about 80 per cent of my patients have some exposure to cannabis; actually about 25 to 35 per cent would meet criteria for a cannabis use disorder, which can have very significant negative outcomes on their mental health.”

Bottom line? When smoking pot, it is best to proceed with caution.

To read the first article: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/halifax-dalhousie-researcher-cannabis-brain-function-1.5457140

To read the second article: https://www.thetelegram.com/news/canada/your-brain-on-cannabis-halifax-researcher-probes-effects-on-white-matter-behaviour-408888/

Photo credit:https://unsplash.com/@felgfx

Leave a comment