Washington: Regular use of marijuana during adolescence may permanently impair brain function and cognition, and may increase the risk of developing serious psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia in adulthood, a new study has revealed. Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine hope that the study will help to shed light on the potential long-term effects of marijuana use, particularly as lawmakers in Maryland and elsewhere contemplate legalizing the drug."Over the past 20 years, there has been a major controversy about the long-term effects of marijuana, with some evidence that use in adolescence could be damaging," study`s senior author Asaf Keller, Ph.D., Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said. "Previous research has shown that children who started using marijuana before the age of 16 are at greater risk of permanent cognitive deficits, and have a significantly higher incidence of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. There likely is a genetic susceptibility, and then you add marijuana during adolescence and it becomes the trigger," the researcher said.
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