Teen brain more prone to drug, alcohol damage
November 15th, 2010
01:00 PM ET

Teen brain more prone to drug, alcohol damage

Teens may act invincible, but when it comes to drugs and alcohol, they're actually more vulnerable than adults to harmful effects on the brain, researchers said at Neuroscience 2010, the Society for Neuroscience conference in San Diego, California, on Monday.

"Brain development is actively transpiring even in the teen brain, and [if] you throw in a drug on top of that, you could change the trajectory of brain development." said Dr. Frances Jensen of Children's Hospital Boston.

The effects of getting high in the teen brain are longer-lasting than in the adults, she said. Even several days later, cannabis can stay in the teen's system, affecting the building blocks of learning and memory.

That's because there are likely more receptors for the drug to bind to in the teen brain than in the adult brain, she said.

There is also a potential long-lasting effect of chronic cannabis use among teens particularly, more so than in adults, she said. Research has shown that IQ can permanently decrease in teens who regularly use cannabis.

A study led by Staci Ann Gruber of Harvard Medical School found that people who began using marijuana before age 16 and who used it the most performed the worst on a test of cognitive flexibility. Cognitive flexibility means being able to change your response to something based on the context of the situation.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the brains of cannabis smokers shows that the frontal and prefrontal inhibitory areas are affected, Jensen said.

Research in addiction has increasingly focused on the idea that addiction is a form of learning. From that perspective, it makes sense that teens are also more susceptible to addiction, as new research in animals shows. A study presented by Michela Marinelli at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science found that rats in adolescence work harder for cocaine and consume more than adult rats.

"The teen brain learns so handily; unfortunately it can get addicted a lot faster, stronger and longer," Jensen said.

Alcohol may also harm the teenage brain more profoundly than in adults, Jensen said. As with drugs, there are likely more receptors in the brain for alcohol to bind to, creating more problems for the developing brain.

Researchers led by Toni Pak at Loyola University found that alcohol may disrupt connections in the brain that relate to stress hormone production, throwing off a person's ability to manage stress. And that may lead to anxiety and depression later in life. But take note: These findings were based on binge-drinking rats, so applicability to humans isn't completely certain.

"Parents need to stop saying, 'Oh, he’ll be fine,' Jensen said. "It's important that this information gets to teenagers, that they be made aware of their vulnerable and impressionable brain state."

soundoff (746 Responses)
  1. Genaro Surls

    I like reading through an article that will make men and women think. Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!

    June 10, 2021 at 13:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Vicenta Shollenberger

    This blog was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something that helped me. Thank you!


    June 10, 2021 at 19:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. https://thuocladientu123.com

    Best view i have ever seen !


    June 10, 2021 at 19:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. rv repair shop near me

    I blog often and I genuinely thank you for your information. Your article has truly peaked my interest. I'm going to bookmark your website and keep checking for new details about once a week. I subscribed to your Feed too.


    June 10, 2021 at 21:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Fransisca Blind

    Hello, I do think your website could possibly be having internet browser compatibility issues. Whenever I look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to give you a quick heads up! Besides that, fantastic blog!

    June 10, 2021 at 23:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Michal Lavalle


    June 11, 2021 at 00:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Rudy Dundee

    Great article! We are linking to this great content on our site. Keep up the good writing.

    June 11, 2021 at 00:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Curt Pyeatt

    I could not refrain from commenting. Well written!


    June 11, 2021 at 02:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. rv repair shop near me


    June 11, 2021 at 07:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Alex Kief


    June 11, 2021 at 09:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Franklyn Darst


    June 11, 2021 at 10:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Nolan Neer

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon everyday. It's always exciting to read through content from other writers and use a little something from their websites.

    June 11, 2021 at 10:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. store near me


    June 11, 2021 at 16:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. rv shower repair

    This is the perfect webpage for anybody who would like to find out about this topic. You know a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally will need toÖHaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic that's been discussed for ages. Wonderful stuff, just wonderful!


    June 11, 2021 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. ordro ep7 review

    Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article.
    I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful information. Thanks
    for the post. I will certainly return.

    June 11, 2021 at 18:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. RV Bedroom Riverside

    I could not refrain from commenting. Well written!


    June 11, 2021 at 21:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Travel Van Repair Shop


    June 11, 2021 at 21:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Mercedes Benz Sprinter Turbo Actuator Repair


    June 11, 2021 at 21:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. rv water leak repair


    June 12, 2021 at 00:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. indoor rv storage orange county ca

    This is a topic that's near to my heart... Take care! Where are your contact details though?


    June 12, 2021 at 07:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. RV Shower Los Angeles

    Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful post. Many thanks for providing this info.


    June 12, 2021 at 08:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Chevrolet Cargo Van Repair Shop Near Me


    June 12, 2021 at 08:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Motorhome Engine Repair


    June 12, 2021 at 09:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. 2016 Sprinter Repair Shops


    June 12, 2021 at 09:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. land for sale near me

    Excellent article! We will be linking to this particularly great article on our website. Keep up the great writing.


    June 12, 2021 at 14:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. covid-19 testing near me

    Very good post. I absolutely love this site. Thanks!


    June 12, 2021 at 17:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. gas prices near me


    June 12, 2021 at 19:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. shooting range near me


    June 12, 2021 at 19:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. craft store near me


    June 12, 2021 at 19:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. buy here pay here near me


    June 12, 2021 at 19:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. h&r block near me


    June 12, 2021 at 20:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. coffee shops near me

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this post plus the rest of the website is very good.


    June 12, 2021 at 22:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. traffic near me


    June 12, 2021 at 22:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. houses for sale near me


    June 12, 2021 at 22:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. pawn shop near me


    June 13, 2021 at 00:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. dsw near me


    June 13, 2021 at 06:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. pet store near me


    June 13, 2021 at 07:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. drive thru near me


    June 13, 2021 at 07:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. honda dealer near me

    This is a topic that is close to my heart... Thank you! Where are your contact details though?


    June 13, 2021 at 10:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. farmers market near me

    You made some good points there. I looked on the net to find out more about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this site.


    June 13, 2021 at 10:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. bookstore near me

    Your style is so unique compared to other people I've read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this web site.


    June 13, 2021 at 11:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. butcher shop near me

    Hello! I could have sworn Iíve visited your blog before but after browsing through many of the posts I realized itís new to me. Regardless, Iím certainly delighted I came across it and Iíll be bookmarking it and checking back frequently!


    June 13, 2021 at 15:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. boat rentals near me


    June 13, 2021 at 15:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. laundromats near me

    Spot on with this write-up, I really believe that this site needs much more attention. Iíll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the advice!


    June 14, 2021 at 04:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. vets near me


    June 14, 2021 at 04:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. dining near me


    June 14, 2021 at 04:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. national parks near me


    June 14, 2021 at 05:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. hand sanitizer near me

    Spot on with this write-up, I really feel this website needs much more attention. Iíll probably be back again to read more, thanks for the information!


    June 14, 2021 at 06:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. dutch bros near me

    Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Finding the time and actual effort to generate a great articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I hesitate a whole lot and never seem to get anything done.


    June 14, 2021 at 07:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. dog park near me


    June 14, 2021 at 08:42 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Leave a Reply to RV Repair California


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.