Exercise and Relapse Prevention
Drug Rehabs have found interest in an international study using participants from New Zealand that proves the persistent, dependent use of marijuana before age 18 has been shown to cause lasting harm to a person's intelligence, attention and memory. Often, marijuana users do not feel it necessary to enter a drug rehab center because they believe marijuana is not as harmful as other drugs, such as heroin or cocaine. However, an international team of researchers has uncovered the truth about the damaging effects of pot.
Drug rehabs have long realized the lasting damage of marijuana use, especially as a "gateway" drug to other substances. Now, this new research shows that marijuana is extremely dangerous on its own, and many drug rehab centers are benefitting from the information when trying to convince marijuana users that they should consider drug rehab for their problem.
The study included over 1,000 New Zealanders. These individuals began using marijuana as teenagers and used it habitually for many years following their initial introduction to the drug. They showed an average IQ decline of 8 points when researchers compared their test results from age 13 to age 38.
Those participants who quit smoking pot did not show a reversal of this decline in intelligence. Madeline Myer, a lead researcher from Duke University, said the key variable for the IQ reduction was the age that participants began using marijuana. The onset age of marijuana abuse for the participants, 13, is a key age in the brain’s development. Before the age of 18, according to Meier, the brain continuously develops to become an efficient organ capable of its primary function. For this reason, the brain is vulnerable to drug abuse, which distorts its natural development and organization.
Meier states, "Marijuana is not harmless, particularly for adolescents."
The study is led by Terrie Moffit and Avshalom Caspi, psychologists who teach at Duke and King’s College, London. The study tracked the intelligence progress of habitual pot smokers born in 1972-1973 from Dunedin, New Zealand.
Drug rehab centers may have known marijuana was harmful for various reasons, but they now have definitive proof of the serious nature of marijuana abuse. Counselors and therapists at drug rehab centers can dispel any myths from "marijuana only" patients about how their use is not hurting them biologically at all.