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Samantha Kaufman presented at The Sixth Polygence Symposium of Rising Scholars. Interested in the next Symposium? Fill out the interest form here for more information.

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Polygence Scholar2021
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Samantha Kaufman

Corona del Mar High SchoolClass of 2023

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Projects

  • Cannabis and the Adolescent Brain with mentor Kayla (Jan. 8, 2022)

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Cannabis and the Adolescent Brain

Started Apr. 30, 2021

Abstract or project description

For my Polygence final project, I will be creating and submitting a literature review regarding the adolescent brain and its relation to mental health and cannabis use. Mental health has become a crisis in the adolescent population. With the onset of COVID-19, this problem has only increased as the number of mental health disorder diagnoses has increased across the nation. Parallel to the rise in deteriorating adolescent mental health is the frequency of cannabis usage. Commonly used for the temporary euphoric high it produces due to the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabis is often used to supposedly alleviate the stresses that stem from mental health disorders. Contrary to common thought, cannabis use actually worsens pre-existing mental health conditions and can be a contributing factor to other ailments later in life. Whether it be social or general anxiety disorder, depression, or bipolar disorder, marijuana only seems to worsen the symptoms of these diagnoses. Therefore, it is important to understand its impact, especially since both substance abuse and the mental health crisis are problems that increasingly permeate the adolescent population. In this literature review, we will discuss the evolution and correlation between adolescent marijuana use and mental health and how, together, they affect the developing brain. This paper will also explore how stress-inducing factors, like COVID-19, have only worsened the preexisting problem. This paper also discusses possible promising pharmaceutical solutions to this ongoing problem. Education and awareness surrounding mental health and cannabis use are lacking in the adolescent population, and this literature review hopes to give a simple, yet thorough overview of the current literature related to these topics.