Study: What A Teen Brain Really Looks Like On Drugs

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Photo: Youths smoke marijuana, Denver 4/20 rally, Civic Center Park, 2013(AP Photo)
Youths smoke marijuana at the Denver 4/20 pro-marijuana rally at Civic Center Park in Denver, Saturday, April 20, 2013.

Scientists know that adolescence is one of the most important times in life for brain development. It's also a time when some children experiment with various drugs. What scientists don't know is how much drugs impact the development process during these years, versus how much of a role genetics plays.

Marie Banich directs the Institute of Cognitive Science at CU Boulder. She's part of a new, nationwide study of how drugs -- including marijuana -- shape the adolescent brain. The study will follow about 10,000 young people starting at age 9 -- before it's likely they've done drugs -- and through their teenage years.

Banich spoke with Ryan Warner. Click the link above to hear the full interview and read edited highlights below.