Michell S. Saavedra , Priyanka Thota, Tariladei S. Peresuodei , Abhishek Gill, Chijioke Orji , Maiss Reghefaoui , Safeera Khan


January 16,  2024


During adolescence, significant changes unfold in the brain’s maturation process. The density of white matter increases, accompanied by the pruning back of gray matter. This critical and vulnerable period becomes especially noteworthy in the context of drug use, as adolescents are extensively exposed to substances such as tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis. The concern is heightened now that cannabis has been legalized for recreational use in many places, leading to increased exposure levels. Additionally, knowledge about the impact of cannabis on neurocognitive development during this stage is limited. This knowledge gap compounds the issue, making it even more concerning. Therefore, a systematic review was carried out based on the 2020 Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, using medical databases such as PubMed, PubMed Central (PMC), Medline, Cochrane Library, Internet Archive Scholar, and Embase-Elsevier for relevant medical literature. The identified articles were reviewed, eligibility criteria were applied, and 19 research articles were identified. The final papers explored the correlation between children’s and adolescents’ exposure to cannabis-containing compounds and subsequent changes in the central nervous system (CNS). Findings revealed a considerable impact, ranging from transient alterations in mood to permanent cognitive function and sensory processing changes, affecting the deterioration of the quality of life of these individuals in adulthood. Presently, most studies were conducted on animals, and the few studies on humans have considerable limitations, such as the type of study, age of the population, and small samples, among others. For this reason, it is essential for the scientific community and public health organizations, in general, to conduct more studies that demonstrate the true neurobiological impact of this drug and its accessibility to young people and, based on the results, consider its legalization or propose regulations for its use and commercialization.

DOI: 10.7759/cureus.52362


Saavedra, M. S., Thota, P., Peresuodei, T. S., Gill, A., Orji, C., Reghefaoui, M., … & Palacios, M. S. S. (2024). Neurocognitive Impact of Exposure to Cannabis Concentrates and Cannabinoids Including Vaping in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review. Cureus, 16(1).