primitive areas of the brain more associated with emotions, and self-preservation; it also holds true that adult perception is generally more accurate. Marijuana, like all drugs, changes perception. And like most drugs, it engenders perception that is fearful, emotional, defensive, and often inaccurate. Though the short term addiction potential of marijuana may be less than other drugs, the long-term impact of chronic marijuana use can be profound. Determining the feelings and motives of other people is necessary to function as an adult in society. If marijuana use is chronic or constant enough to hinder perceptual maturation, an adolescent user may encounter misunderstood failures in school, work, and relationships, which in turn re-enforce the desire to retreat to drugs. Habit and the Hard Wiring of the Brain
As self help gurus are quick to point out, if you do something for long enough it becomes automatic. Nowhere does this wisdom more hold true than in adolescence. Though teens may change clothes, ideas, friends and hobbies with maddening frequency, they are developing ideas about themselves, their world and their place in it that will follow them for the rest of their lives. Adults may spend years trying to create or break even the simplest habit, yet most adults find that their most profound ideas about themselves and the world were developed in high school or college. This is because, by age 25 or so the brain is fully developed and building new neural connections is a much slower process. Conclusion
Early detection and treatment is essential to heading off the development of substance addiction in adolescents. Given their brain development, teenagers cannot be expected to understand the full range of consequences in their choices regarding drugs and alcohol. The disease must be prevented, and where it cannot be prevented it must be cured while there is still time for a full recovery. Information Taken from The Adolescent Brain: A Work in Progress ,...
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