Publicado April 22, 2024

The Impact of Cannabis Abuse on Minors

Cannabis use among minors is a growing concern in contemporary society. As laws on its use are liberalized in different parts of the world, it is essential to understand the possible negative effects it can have on the cognitive and neuronal development of adolescents, especially from the age of 15, a critical stage in the formation of the brain.

What is cannabis?

Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is a plant that contains psychoactive compounds, the most prominent being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), responsible for its euphoric and psychotropic effects.

Impact on adolescent brain development

Neural development

During adolescence, the brain undergoes a series of structural and functional changes crucial for cognitive and emotional development. Cannabis negatively affects this process due to the presence of cannabinoid receptors in key regions of the brain, such as the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus and limbic system.

Long-term consequences

Cannabis abuse during adolescence has been associated with a number of long-term consequences, including:

Decreased academic performance: studies have shown that regular cannabis use is associated with lower performance on tests of cognitive skills, memory and attention, which can negatively affect academic success.

Increased risk of psychiatric disorders: There is a correlation between cannabis use in adolescence and an increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders, such as depression, anxiety and schizophrenia.

Alterations in brain structure: Prolonged cannabis use during adolescence has been associated with structural changes in the brain, including a reduction in gray matter volume in regions involved in cognitive and emotional functions.

Why is age 15 important?

Starting at age 15, the adolescent brain is at a critical stage of maturation, where neural connections are being established that are critical for functions such as decision-making, impulse control, and emotional regulation. Cannabis use during this period can significantly interfere with these processes, compromising long-term neural development.


Cannabis abuse in minors, especially from the age of 15 years and older, can have serious and long-lasting consequences on cognitive and neural development. It is crucial that adolescents, their families and society in general are informed about these risks, and measures are taken to prevent early use of this substance. In addition, more research is needed to better understand the underlying mechanisms and to develop effective interventions to address this public health problem.