According to a study that was published this week in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, it looks like adolescents who stop using marijuana can have their cognitive ability improve.
The study has found that even if the adolescents gave up marijuana for just a week, it would improve their verbal learning and memory would also improve.
According to a National Institutes of Health survey that was conducted last year, over 14% of middle and high school students reported using marijuana in the past month.
“The adolescent brain is undergoing significant neurodevelopment well into the 20s, and the regions that are last to develop are those regions that are most populated by cannabis receptors, and are also very critical to cognitive functioning,” said Randi Schuster, the director of Neuropsychology at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Addiction Medicine, and the study’s lead author.
Schuster and his team recruited 88 pot-using teens and young adults, ages 16 to 25, who stopped consuming or smoking marijuana for a month.
According to Schuster, the researchers wanted to recruit a range of participants, not just heavy users or those in a treatment program. Some of the young people smoked once per week; some smoked nearly daily.
“People were generally fine,” she says. “We kind of went through what the next month would look like and helped them come up with strategies for staying abstinent.”
“We were pleasantly surprised to see that at least some of the deficits that we think may be caused by cannabis appear to be reversible, and at least some of them are quickly reversible, which is good news,” Schuster said.