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UC San Diego studies if social media is like marijuana

Posted at 6:10 PM, Feb 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-20 21:10:26-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A San Diego researcher is looking into whether social media affects the teenage brain the same way as marijuana.

Dr. Kara Bagot, a child psychiatrist and assistant professor at the University of California San Diego, believes her findings could change how medical professionals view adolescents' usage of various social media.

“Kids keep using social media even in the face of negative consequences,” said Dr. Bagot, “and that’s what we see with drug usage as well.”

Bagot’s team will scan 60 teens’ brains as they look at images from social media and then pictures of marijuana.

“No one will be smoking for this study,” added Bagot, “we’re not that progressive.”

They are still compiling results and recruiting more teenagers for the study, but anticipate having it complete by summer.

The study is a part of the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) initiative, a nationwide effort tracking more than 12,000 children across a decade.