For anyone who started lighting up before 16, you may be doomed – according to science.
A recent study published in the journal of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience concluded that taking up marijuana before the age of 16 could harm growth in the part of your brain that helps with decision-making and self-control. Somehow… this makes a lot of sense.
Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas’s Center for Brain Health found results after scanning the heads of 42 frequent marijuana users ages 21-50. Twenty-two of them said that they had smoked before age 16, while everyone else started after 19.
According to Cosmopolitan, preteen pot smokers were linked to fewer key markers of normal brain development, specifically, in the prefrontal cortex — the seat of our willpower, focus, and planning skills.
Similar information was published in an online article by JAMA Internal Medicine. This study showed that people who smoked regularly as teens remembered fewer words as they entered middle age. According to CNN, their findings also found that marijuana use was associated with poor verbal memory and processing speed, and only worsens with lifetime exposure. For every five years of marijuana use, verbal memory grows less and less, and constant users have actually had the largest decline in IQ scores.
Luckily, there’s at least a few things you can do to reverse some of the effects:
1. Take up exercising to help direct blood flow back to the decision-making centers in your brain.
2. Make sure you’re eating enough, because being hungry sets you up for self-control inability; plus, studies have shown that having breakfast everyday can be the key to curbing the act of impulsiveness.
3. Don’t give a f*ck… that seems to get the job done.