brain development

Alcohol and Cannabis Use and the Developing Brain

Lees, B., Debenham, J., & Squeglia, L. M. (2021). Alcohol and Cannabis Use and the Developing Brain. Alcohol, 41(1).

Purpose of Review

Alcohol and cannabis are the most commonly used substances during adolescence and are typically initiated during this sensitive neurodevelopmental period.

The aim of this review is to provide an overview of the most recent literature focused on understanding how these substances affect the developing brain.


The effects of alcohol use include:

Association of Cannabis Use During Adolescence With Neurodevelopment

Albaugh MD, Ottino-Gonzalez J, Sidwell A, et al. Association of Cannabis Use During Adolescence With Neurodevelopment. JAMA Psychiatry. Published online June 16, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2021.1258
Publication Date

Importance: Animal studies have shown that the adolescent brain is sensitive to disruptions in endocannabinoid signaling, resulting in altered neurodevelopment and lasting behavioral effects. However, few studies have investigated ties between cannabis use and adolescent brain development in humans.

The Impact of Substance Use on the Developing Adolescent Brain


This free webinar will review developmental neurobiology and the impact of psychoactive substances in general on brain development.

The speaker will then discuss the particular impacts of alcohol, THC, and nicotine on the brain and their specific impacts on brain development.

As a result of participating in this webinar, you will be able to: 

Alcohol, MDMA and cannabis use: Impact on the adolescent brain

Created by
The Matilda Centre


This webinar is for teachers, school staff, parents and others who are interested in understanding the effect of drugs on adolescent brain. It explores the development of adolescent brain and how this process is interrupted by the use of alcohol, MDMA and cannabis.

It provides information on harm reduction strategies that parents and teachers can implement amongst teenagers, in order to reduce harm.

Early Childhood Mental Health

Created by
Harvard University

As people develop through childhood, adolescents and into adulthood there are continuous opportunities to lay the foundations of sound mental health. 

Disruptions during this trajectory can have a lasting impact on the way a person develops their sense of self and ability to relate to others and manage everyday life.

Researchers from Harvard University have put together a website and video overview of child development.

Adolescent Brain Development, Substance Use, and Psychotherapeutic Change

Wetherill, R., & Tapert, S. F. (2013). Adolescent brain development, substance use, and psychotherapeutic change. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 27(2), 393.

Adolescence involves dramatic biologic, psychological, and behavioural changes.

Adolescents respond, learn and explore their environment, forming new relationships and further developing their identity.

It is often a time where individuals are more likely to participate in risky behaviour, frequently influenced by substance use. Substance use among adolescents ranges from experimentation to severe substance use disorders.

Successful Treatment of Methamphetamine Addiction


Methamphetamine is a drug of rapid addiction and destruction.

This free webinar will focus on the impact of methamphetamine and how this powerful drug changes the brain of the user - a process called addiction.