Serious question: Was Obama’s psycho-neural makeup ruined by pot and indulgence in his teen years?

Serious question: Was Obama’s psycho-neural makeup ruined by pot and indulgence in his teen years?

Researchers have also found that the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, can seriously interfere with this neural development.  A 2013 survey of 55 research studies on the psychological and neurological impact of marijuana use on teenagers concluded that “regular marijuana use during adolescence may lead to structural changes … associated with poorer cognitive functioning, especially … executive functioning, emotional control, and learning and memory.”  Onelong-term study of a thousand New Zealanders who used marijuana during adolescence found that these effects persisted into adulthood decades later.

The most interesting of these harms is to “executive functioning.”  This is a related set of processes that all have to do with managing oneself and one’s resources in order to achieve a goal. It is an umbrella term for the neurologically-based skills involving mental control and self-regulation.”  It is the ability to focus and organize one’s efforts to pursue one or multiple difficult long-term goals.  For example, say your goal requires that you establish a relationship and negotiate with powerful, independent, and even vain and unlikeable, persons.  Even the most energetic back-slapping glad hander will tell you that this is hard work.  Executive functioning is the mental processes that enable you to focus on and perform such tasks over time which are needed to realize a long-range goal. …

On a less scientific basis, our President displays some other informal characteristics of the classic pothead.  He is certainly amiable.  And he clearly likes to think Deep Thoughts about Great Things (as satirized at the end of this classic scene).   The New York Times has reported on the President’s strong preference for dinner parties with European intellectuals over spending time with citizens and politicians discussing the nitty-gritty of governing.

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