A professor at the University of British Columbia was in Lethbridge this week, giving a lecture to make a scientific case about the capacity drugs have to change the brains circuitry.
Dr. Anothony Philips told the Alberta Morning News Saturday, that a youths developing brain is particularly vulnerable to the effects of drugs.
“There’s some evidence that the frontal lobes of the brain that allows to think about the consequences of our behaviour are the latest to develop. So if you don’t have those circuits fully developed and you’re doing things that could modify their ability to advise you and let you see the consequences of your actions, then that could be detrimental.”
But Philips said drugs can also be detrimental to adults.
He said his research involves looking at how the brain circuits are affected.
“What our research and other people’s research is saying is that the reason these drugs have such a powerful control over our behaviour is because they’re driving to a very high degree, the circuits that normally underlie our ability to learn and remember, and to be motivated to do things.”
When it comes to marijuana, which is set to be legalized on July 1 2018, he said everyone needs to keep an open mind
Philips said it’s a complex issue and that excessive use can have affects on how the brain works, but it also may have beneficial effects.
But what he’s most concerned about is there’s not enough attention being paid to the potency that will be legalized.
“Imagine if the only kind of alcohol you could get was 150 proof rum and that becomes the norm, and so I would urge the legislators to think about doing research to identify modest potency drugs as being approved for public consumption.”
The impending legalization has some raising the question on if it could make someone’s mental health condition worse.
Philips said, while it can make someone’s condition worse if they have an underlying predisposition, it could also potentially do harm to someone unaware they have a mental health condition.