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Commentary: More research needed into marijuana’s effects on brain development and function

Science Spotlight

September 02, 2014

A journal commentary by Harvard researcher and NIDA grantee Bertha K. Madras stresses the importance of a large scale longitudinal study to better assess the effects of marijuana use on human brain development and function. Dr. Madras notes research that suggests regular marijuana use that begins in youth “blunts” the brain’s normal responses; results in increased anxiety and restlessness; and contributes to a high degree of negative emotionality. She calls for an integrative approach of brain imaging combined with behavioral and cognitive measurements, optimally beginning in early adolescence (before marijuana use begins) through three decades of life. The commentary can be found at: www.pnas.org/content/111/33/11915.extract?sid=418eff65-8460-49f1-8788-0b71e6b84dc2.

It is important to note that a large longitudinal cohort study on the effects of substance use on the human brain during early adolescence into young adulthood is in development at NIDA, with a solicitation expected to be posted early next year. More information can be seen here: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-DA-14-014.html.

For more information, contact the NIDA press office at media@nida.nih.gov or 301-443-6245.

NIDA Press Office

About the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug use and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy, improve practice, and advance addiction science. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs and information on NIDA research and other activities can be found at www.drugabuse.gov, which is now compatible with your smartphone, iPad or tablet. To order publications in English or Spanish, call NIDA’s DrugPubs research dissemination center at 1-877-NIDA-NIH or 240-645-0228 (TDD) or email requests to drugpubs@nida.nih.gov. Online ordering is available at drugpubs.drugabuse.gov. NIDA’s media guide can be found at www.drugabuse.gov/publications/media-guide/dear-journalist, and its easy-to-read website can be found at www.easyread.drugabuse.gov. You can follow NIDA on Twitter and Facebook.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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    NIDA. (2014, September 2). Commentary: More research needed into marijuana’s effects on brain development and function. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2014/09/commentary-more-research-needed-marijuanas-effects-brain-development-function

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