MUHC logoThe consumption of cannabis for long has been linked to disorders including depression. A new study brings to light that the ill-effects of consuming this illicit drug may actually have a much more damaging effect on young brains than originally imagined. This finding was put forth by experts from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre.

Scientists associated with this study suggest that teenagers who consume cannabis daily may be facing depression and anxiety. Also the drug appears to have an irreversible long–term effect on the brain. Apparently Canadian teenagers are known to be the largest consumers of cannabis across the world.

“We wanted to know what happens in the brains of teenagers when they use cannabis and whether they are more susceptible to its neurological effects than adults,” explained Dr. Gabriella Gobbi, a psychiatric researcher, who is also a professor at McGill University.

Cannabis according to Dr. Gobbi’s analysis may have an action on two key compounds in the brain namely serotonin and norepinephrine. These are known to be involved in the regulation of neurological functions like mood control and anxiety.

“Teenagers who are exposed to cannabis have decreased serotonin transmission, which leads to mood disorders, as well as increased norepinephrine transmission, which leads to greater long-term susceptibility to stress,” Dr. Gobbi commented further. “Our study is one of the first to focus on the neurobiological mechanisms at the root of this influence of cannabis on depression and anxiety in adolescents.”

Earlier epidemiological studies seem to have demonstrated the effects of cannabis consumption on the behaviour of some teenagers. This present study however claims to be the first one to show how cannabis consumption may cause more serious damage during adolescence than adulthood.

The new study is published in Neurobiology of Disease