Aug 12, 2014 12:41 PM by Annie Snead
Regular marijuana use can affect the brain function of teenagers and young adults, according to a new study.
An estimated six percent of high school and 31 percent of college students report themselves to be regular smokers.
Researchers say brain imaging studies of young pot users show significant abnormalities in the brain's grey matter, which is linked to intelligence.
Marijuana use has also been associated with poor attention, memory, a loss in IQ and addiction.
News 5 spoke with the medical director for El Paso County Public Health who says it's likely because the brain is still in the process of developing.
"Exposure to toxins - and there would be issues like this with alcohol as well - in a developing brain may lead you with a relatively more permanent effect than it does with an adult," said Dr. Bill Letson.
Despite legalization of medical and recreational pot in our state, Dr. Letson says recent studies suggest the usage rate has not gone up among adolescents, which is a good thing.
And that usage was already fairly high before it was legalized for medical purposes.