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NIDA. (2014, September 2). Commentary: More research needed into marijuana’s effects on brain development and function. Retrieved from

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Science Spotlight

September 02, 2014

A journal commentary by Harvard researcher and NIDA grantee Bertha K. Madras stresses the importance of a large scale longitudinal study to better assess the effects of marijuana use on human brain development and function. Dr. Madras notes research that suggests regular marijuana use that begins in youth “blunts” the brain’s normal responses; results in increased anxiety and restlessness; and contributes to a high degree of negative emotionality. She calls for an integrative approach of brain imaging combined with behavioral and cognitive measurements, optimally beginning in early adolescence (before marijuana use begins) through three decades of life. The commentary can be found at:

It is important to note that a large longitudinal cohort study on the effects of substance use on the human brain during early adolescence into young adulthood is in development at NIDA, with a solicitation expected to be posted early next year. More information can be seen here:

For more information, contact the NIDA press office at or 301-443-6245.