Drug affection is determined by many factors. Your age at the time of exposure is one of the most important. How do the risks and benefits of cannabis change during normal aging?
Cannabis use is still common among pregnant women. A large longitudinal study tried to assess the consequences of cannabis use. The Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study recruited 11,875 children aged 9 to 11 years from 22 sites across the US between June 1, 2016, and October 15, 2018. They examined prenatal cannabis exposure prior to and after maternal knowledge of pregnancy. Prenatal cannabis exposure was associated with increased incidence of psychopathology in the offspring, including attention deficits, thought disorders, social problems, and sleep disruptions, as well as lower gray matter volume; these associations sometimes lasted into middle childhood. Exposure after the mother had knowledge of pregnancy was associated with lower birth weight as well as significantly reduced total intracranial volume and white matter volumes. The implications are clear: the prenatal brain is very vulnerable to the presence of cannabis.
Cannabis during adolescence:
Overall, the available evidence indicates that the adolescent brain is still vulnerable to exogenous cannabinoids. Essentially, cannabis alters the normal trajectory of brain maturation, although the consequences seem to be less severe than those of prenatal exposure. The combined evidence from numerous human and animal studies suggests that exposure to cannabis during adolescence has the potential to produce subtle, but lasting, alterations in brain function and behavior. The severity differs according to duration of use, age at first use and underlying genetic vulnerabilities that are more likely to appear during adolescence, such as various psychopathologies.
Cannabis in middle to old age:
Cannabis use is becoming more common in older people. Most users in this group, mainly those aged between 50 and 60, reported that the most common cause of their use of cannabis was pain relief due to illness or injury. Most patients report that while marijuana is not more effective, it has fewer unpleasant side effects than over-the-counter drugs or prescription painkillers.
A recent study assessed the relationship between long-term medical cannabis use and cognitive function in a sample of middle-aged and older patients with chronic pain. Their results suggest that use of whole-plant medical cannabis does not have a negative impact on cognition in older patients. It should be noted that this study, like most other epidemiological studies, used whole plants rather than specific extracts. The benefits of certain components of the plant have not been fully established. In fact, we may find that the best interests can be achieved only by the joint action of all the components in the plant.