How Early Can Cannabis Affect Children’s Brain Development

How Early Can Cannabis Affect Children's Brain Development

How Early Can Cannabis Affect Children’s Brain Development

Cannabis consumption has proved to be extremely threatening to the health of not just the consumer, but it has also created the second-hand effects. The second hand effect of smoking marijuana is on those around the consumer of cannabis. These second-hand effects of smoking or consumption of cannabis has turned out to be even more dangerous than the one inhaling it. However, when it comes to children, whose immunity and ability to bear intoxications is weak, the damages are far from easily treating them.

If statistics are shed a light on, they show us that in Canada 28% of children aged between 11 and 15 have tried to or smoked pot at least once. In America this ratio is 23%, considering that it id legalized in some states. In addition, in Netherlands, also regarded as Weed friendly, the ratio is 17%. Cannabis contains a psychoactive component known as THC, which stands for Tetrahydrocannabidol, which actually causes the euphemism or the ‘high’ when the intoxication is absorbed in the body. Many people generally try to give it comparison to alcohol, but many medical researchers have proved that some medical cannabis herbs can be of use for reducing and eliminating the addiction to alcohol. However, coming back to the topic, this article discusses the harmful and fatal effects that marijuana or cannabis can cause on the brain and neurological systems of the children; the category that includes unborn babies, infants, toddlers and teenagers too.

Life of Teenagers consuming Cannabis:

The brains of a human in teenage life is said to be in the developing stage and is said to be in the process of “Neural Pruning” A teenager consuming cannabis is reported to have problems at school. Their focus and concentration weakens, and their decision making ability is hampered which causes their future to fall at risk. In addition to this, the memory and learning power slows down which causes the students to perform poor in academics. Many teenagers who fall into the prey of using this illicit drug, as it is widely known, is largely because of the peer pressure, especially around the vicinity of their social surroundings, mostly from their seniors. Because of poor or decreasing grades, leads to higher rate of dropping out, this would result in increasing dependency ratio and lesser employment opportunity, which mostly results in dissatisfaction in lifestyle. However, peer pressure alone is does not bear the blame for fascinating the teenagers to start the use of cannabis, emotional distress or poor life style can also be the reasons for unconsciously risking their lives and careers. Dr. Harold Kalant, a pharmacology professor at University of Toronto, states that cannabis is not the most dangerous of drugs, as with alcohol “it has a lot of harmful effects”. He further says that marijuana seize the neural functions in teenagers’ brain and causes long – term and permanent damages on the brain development.


Moreover, the researchers of Duke University observe significant fall in IQ level, up to the age of 38, in people who started smoking cannabis in their teenage life; this stated so in their report of 2012. Schizophrenia (more chances if runs in the genes), hallucination, delusion and psychological vulnerabilities are also the causes of cannabis use in teenage.

How are toddlers and infants affected?

Not only are those children who come into this world, but the unborn babies are also highly affected by the cannabis use by their mother while they are still in the womb. One study has shown that expectant mothers who use marijuana, experience a reduced head circumference of their child when it is born, and in its young adolescents. Further problems indicated are low weight at birth and disease such as leukemia- a cancer of blood cells. If the expectant mother or the one feeding the child exposes the child to marijuana by smoking it herself, the baby gets exposure as early as this age, and the abnormalities in the developing brain starts generating as early as right after birth. Such kids also face long and short-term memory defects; when they cannot retain what they learnt and cannot hold the memory for long, their judging as well as decision-making abilities.

Through several laboratory tests of marijuana smoking mothers and their newborn or infants, it was also brought into knowledge that the exposure to the components of cannabis/marijuana was present in the body of the children. The University of Utha showed in its studies and researches that babies born to marijuana consuming mothers has a minute part of the brain and in some cases none of the brain, which in other words would mean that they are born brainless, which in one’s opinion is worse than any abnormality. It is also observed that marijuana-inhaling mother’s babies have heart issues, weak eyesights, and a higher risk of developing asthma issues. A study by an institute in America showed that around 10% of the unborn babies are already exposed to marijuana.

Exposure to marijuana is becoming increasingly common as it also comes in the form of yummy edibles, e.g. Hash Brownies, which the children also consume, unconsciously, and fall into the prey of the addiction of the drug, and later being in the tangle of the threatening problems, as discussed in this article.

With the passage of time, and improvement in discoveries of finding more resources to this illicit drug, the consumption ratio is increasing, and the harmful effects are sidelines or ignored. It is more so common now as it is thought to be the ongoing trend and a fashion statement. The peer pressure of cannabis intake leaves a long-term effect of illness and addiction to the harmful drug. However, some of the components of cannabis herb, like CBD, which stands for cannabidiol, is successfully used for medical and therapeutic concerns. Many successful medical researchers have been done, and many medical trials are still in progress, which has found medical properties, in the cannabis herbs that has cued many ailments. These diseases include life taking ones such as several types of cancers, especially lung cancer, which is the first of all diseases most likely to attack an addict, leukemia, stomach cancer, and many more. Other diseases treated by medical cannabis herb are Alzheimer, HIV/Aids, Arthritis, Asthma, Crohn’s disease. Many treatments through medical cannabis herbs are still being observed.


However, the positive aspects of the ‘medical cannabis herb’ do not mean to encourage the use of the illicit drug. The doctors and medical researchers continuously deny and condemn the use of marijuana, weed, pot, and others names to the drug. With the increase in technology and information teenagers and expecting mothers should try to rehabilitate and stay away from the problem causing and future destroying substance.

Author Bio:

Currently a student of English Literature, in his final years, James Martin is passionate about writing his thoughts into words. He takes up writing projects in his leisure time to accompany his studies. Generally, understands the essence of writing on every topic, but especially those that relates to his field. He regularly writes at cannabismo.