The Scan That Predicts Who Will Be Regular Cannabis User Later in Life

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Have you ever heard of a brain side that craves rewards? The study suggests that some things in our brain can make us vulnerable to addictions of all kinds. Read below why.

The research appeared in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. It shows the link between the size of the  orbitofrontal cortex amongst adolescents and the chances to start doing drugs or develop other addictions. The results proved to be accurate about these teens, and for sure, it is also valid for the grown-ups.

The lead author, Natasha Wadeet of the University of California San Diego specifies that a wider left lateral of the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) is mainly to blame for the regular cannabis users.

She stated that “the orbitofrontal cortex is critical for reward response and may be vulnerable to substance-induced alterations.”

Digging into Facts

The experiment asked 118 teenagers from San Diego schools to undertake a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). They completed the evaluation of substance use every year for 13 years, and none of them reported to have called upon any recreational or illegal drugs before this study .

For no less than nine years, the specialists took measures of their orbitofrontal cortex thickness, the volume, and the surface area before making any prognosis.

The participants with larger lateral OFC showed to be more ‘responsive’, being already addicted to tobacco and alcohol.

The study also claims that these statistics can set off alarm bells for parents of early adolencents. For example, the teens that between 12 and 15 years old had bigger indexes also classified as cannabis users or cannabis+alcohol co-user at the end of the experiment.

The lead author Wade pointed out that other factors may have a say in developing addictions, and none of them is defining. However, neurobiological factors are an important facette of the problem and must be taken into consideration while keeping an eye on teens.


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