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The Effects of Cannabis Use among Older Adults 

The Effects of Cannabis Use among Older Adults
The Effects of Cannabis Use among Older Adults

Alison C. Burggren

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date: 17 September 2021

Marijuana (Cannabis sativa) is the most widely used illicit drug worldwide, with 18.7% of Americans reporting past month use in 2012 and 4.3 million meeting criteria for dependence. People who were adolescents through the 1960s and 1970s, when cannabis use doubled, are now entering late life and face the potential for age-related cognitive decline. However, it is unknown how heavy cannabis use affects brain structure and cognitive performance in late life,. This chapter reviews the data gleaned from adolescent cannabis users and from those studies which have followed these subjects using both retrospective and prospective analyses, controlling for factors such as education, socioeconomic status, and intial IQ. The chapter reviews both recreational and medicinal use, and underscores that the two areas should be evaluated differently due to baseline differences in the “healthy-normal” and “disease” populations.

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