Daily marijuana use has a measurable effect on the brain, a new study finds.

Teenagers who smoked marijuana daily for three years performed poorly on memory tasks and showed abnormal changes in brain structure, according to a Northwestern Medicine study. Researchers in Chicago observed the brains of teenagers who were heavy users of marijuana. In those individuals, memory-related structures in the brain appeared to shrink and collapse inward, possibly indicating a decrease in neurons.

These abnormalities were recorded two years after the teens stopped using marijuana, possibly indicating long-term effects, and look similar to schizophrenia-related brain abnormalities.

The brains were shaped more abnormally for individuals who began marijuana use at a younger age, according to the reports, which suggest that memory regions of the brain are more susceptible to the drug at earlier ages.

The research was published in the December issue of Schizophrenia Bulletin.

Wellness

Wellness is not the mere absence of disease. It is a proactive, preventive approach designed to achieve optimum levels of health, social and emotional functioning. Wellness can also be defined as an active process through which you become aware of and make choices toward a more successful existence.

The definition of Wellness is: NOUN
1. mental and physical soundness: physical well-being, especially when maintained or achieved through good diet and regular exercise.

A wellness-oriented lifestyle encourages you to adopt habits and behaviors that promote better health and an improved quality of life. It also involves the recognition that you have physical, psychological, social, and spiritual needs, with each dimension being necessary for optimal levels of functioning.

Wellness is a positive approach to living – an approach that emphasizes the whole person. It is the integration of the body, mind, and spirit; and the appreciation that everything you do, think, feel, and believe has an impact on your state of health.

Since lifestyle has been found to be the single most important factor determining your pattern of general health, it is important that you be educated to “take charge” of your daily life and to set healthy lifestyle goals. The choices you make have a dominant influence on your health ad wellness. The secret is not in medical care, but consistent self- care. While traditional medicine concentrates on alleviating or curing disease, the wellness approach encourages you to take personal responsibility for your well-being.

Remember, Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life.

“…a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” – The World Health Organization

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