Surprised you with that headline, didn’t I?
Like everybody else, I’ve been playing with Chatbots just to see what they could do. And this is one of the things they came up with for me:
“…(THC and CBD)… these compounds can be used to reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality, and increase concentration levels in children. Furthermore, research has suggested that the use of CBD and THC can help to improve overall cognitive performance in kids. This article will discuss the potential benefits of CBD and THC on mental health and cognitive performance in kids.”
…Except I can’t find any studies anywhere that show THC helps with any type of thinking or learning.
In fact, I read a study that compared THC effects in “late adolescents” (meaning 18 – 24 year olds, they couldn’t get permission to use younger kids) to adults.
What they found was that there were some physical things that were the same in both groups. Like the heart rate changed about the same amount for the younger and the older subjects.
But when they started looking at how the younger people performed on different tests, they found some real differences.
Kids’ and adults’ brains are different
In the studies I read, the younger group had much more trouble with reaction time. This is the amount of time it takes for you to realize a train is coming and to get off the tracks.
Kids also had more trouble learning and holding onto new information and other thinking and reacting type of issues.
Plus, there were some distinct changes in brain activity between the two groups. The EEG (electroencephalogram – a study of brain waves) in the younger group were affected more and showed greater variation.
Some studies looked at things from the opposite direction too.
They looked at how adolescents did on some tests of ability to think through problems when they were still using weed and when they weren’t.
What they found was that after being off marijuana for a month, teens showed that their memories were better and they were able to focus more.
Teens’ brains are more affected by drugs
...than adult brains are. I think just about everybody has heard that the human brain keeps developing and changing until the early twenties
This is why may states don’t charge younger people as harshly as they do adults, depending upon the crime.
But the fact that the brain is still developing is one of the reasons that more of any substance can get in.
The brain has something called the blood-brain barrier (BBB). This is kind of like a net that surrounds the brain and spinal cord and keeps germs and chemicals from getting in easily.
In adults, the BBB is tight and only lets small amounts of substances in. But in children and teens, the barrier hasn’t firmed up. So more and different kinds of things can get through.
And some of the things that get through in younger brains much more than in older ones are drugs. Like THC and CBD.
Some kids start before they’re ten
If you’ve read some of my writings, you know that I talk about drugs and alcohol a lot.
That’s because, of course, I deal with people who have problems with these substances and whose lives are a mess because of using.
It’s true that I dislike some drugs more than others. Speed causes brain changes after very little use. And as I mentioned above, the younger the user, the more likely there will be real trouble.
It also causes strokes, heart attacks, bad teeth, and death.
But that’s for another talk.
But I’m talking about it here because I’m so concerned about young kids using drugs and maybe suffering from life-long trouble as a result.
The chatbot said THC helps your brain
I know it’s really popular to bash the information chatbots are producing. Most of us have read about the New York Times reporter who got a chatbot to tell him it was in love with him.
And I’m no more (but no less) worried about what chatbots will do next.
But people under the age of twenty get over 90% of their news from YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.
And chatbots are even more convenient than these sites. I have a bot that runs alongside Google and answers questions, often giving references for the information it gives.
We can guess pretty accurately that many people will replace their social media information with whatever a bot decides to throw at them.
And if what they’re finding is what I did – that somehow a drug that slows down your thinking processes and makes you fuzzy, like THC benefits your thinking – we’re going to have to be creative in how to get factual information out.
I took on two tasks today
It isn’t often that I get sidetracked into talking about more than one thing. But it just happens that my concern about kids and THC and the broader concern that people have about chatbots coincided.
I didn’t set out to find problems with bots. I’ve starting playing with letting them help me with information gathering.
I’ve tried them out at writing, but the three I’ve seen so far are dry and dull, so I’m not doing that now.
And I’m in one of the professions that won’t immediately be replaced by a bot. I can still be more warm and sympathetic than a robot can, though there are an increasing number of on line sites that have a bot interact and declare sympathy for whatever is bothering the user.
But I’m urging everyone who reads this to check their sources and what their kids are learning as “fact.”
Because contrary to what at least one bot said, THC doesn’t help your thinking.
reading by @CanStockPhoto inc/digitalgenetics