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Causes and consequences of cannabis use on adolescent brain development.

22 aprile 2024
2:00 pm
San Francesco Complex - Sagrestia

3rd seminar


Leveraging approximately ten years of prospective longitudinal data on 704 participants from the IMAGEN sample (https://imagen-project.org/), I will discuss the effects of adolescent versus young adult cannabis initiation on MRI-assessed cortical thickness development and behaviour. Associations between adolescent cannabis use (14-19 years) and cortical thickness change were observed primarily in dorso-and ventrolateral portions of the prefrontal cortex. In contrast, cannabis initiation occurring between 19 and 22 years of age was associated with thickness change in temporal and cortical midline areas. Of note, brain changes related to adolescent use persisted into young adulthood and mediated the association between adolescent cannabis use and past-month cocaine, ecstasy, and cannabis use at age 22. In contrast, the extent of cannabis initiation during young adulthood (from 19-22 years) had an indirect effect on psychotic symptoms at age 22 through thickness change in temporal areas. These results suggest that the developmental timing of cannabis exposure may have a marked effect on neuroanatomical correlates of cannabis use as well as on associated behavioural sequelae.


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Hugh Patrick Garavan, University of Vermont