Cognitive Brain Circuits Altered in Youth With Significant Cannabis Use

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Marilyn Cyr, Ph.D., Psy.D. Postdoctoral Research Scientist Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry New York State Psychiatric Institute Columbia University Medical Center New York, NY 10032

Dr. Cyr

Marilyn Cyr, Ph.D., Psy.D.
Postdoctoral Research Scientist
Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
New York State Psychiatric Institute
Columbia University Medical Center
New York, NY 10032

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: A hallmark feature of problematic substance use is compulsive drug-seeking long after the drug is no longer experienced as pleasurable and despite the associated adverse consequences of this behavior. Disturbances in cognitive control—an ensemble of processes by which the mind governs behaviors, regulates impulses and guides decisions based on goals—are believed to be involved in the initiation and maintenance of the compulsive drug-seeking that characterizes problematic substance use. Most adults with problematic substance use began having problems with drugs and alcohol in adolescence, a developmental period during which the neural circuits underlying cognitive control processes continue to mature.

As such, the adolescent brain may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of substance use, and particularly cannabis, the most commonly used recreational drug by teenagers worldwide.

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