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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

STUDY FINDS SIGNS OF BRAIN CHANGES IN POT SMOKERS

Posted by on Apr. 15, 2014 at 8:25 PM
  • 120 Replies




(AP) -- A small study of casual marijuana smokers has turned up evidence of changes in the brain, a possible sign of trouble ahead, researchers say.

The young adults who volunteered for the study were not dependent on pot, nor did they show any marijuana-related problems.

"What we think we are seeing here is a very early indication of what becomes a problem later on with prolonged use," things like lack of focus and impaired judgment, said Dr. Hans Breiter, a study author.

Longer-term studies will be needed to see if such brain changes cause any symptoms over time, said Breiter, of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Previous studies have shown mixed results in looking for brain changes from marijuana use, perhaps because of differences in the techniques used, he and others noted in Wednesday's issue of the Journal of Neurosciences.

The study is among the first to focus on possible brain effects in recreational pot smokers, said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The federal agency helped pay for the work. She called the work important but preliminary.

The 20 pot users in the study, ages 18 to 25, said they smoked marijuana an average of about four days a week, for an average total of about 11 joints. Half of them smoked fewer than six joints a week. Researchers scanned their brains and compared the results to those of 20 non-users who were matched for age, sex and other traits.

The results showed differences in two brain areas associated with emotion and motivation - the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens. Users showed higher density than non-users, as well as differences in shape of those areas. Both differences were more pronounced in those who reported smoking more marijuana.

Volkow said larger studies are needed to explore whether casual to moderate marijuana use really does cause anatomical brain changes, and if so, whether that leads to any impairment.

The current work doesn't determine whether casual to moderate marijuana use is harmful to the brain, she said.

Murat Yucel of Monash University in Australia, who has studied the brains of marijuana users but didn't participate in the new study, said in an email that the new results suggest "the effects of marijuana can occur much earlier than previously thought." Some of the effect may depend on a person's age when marijuana use starts, he said.

Another brain researcher, Krista Lisdahl of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, said her own work has found similar results. "I think the clear message is we see brain alterations before you develop dependence," she said.

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AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner in Chicago contributed to this report.

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Online:

Journal: HTTP://WWW.JNEUROSCI.ORG

by on Apr. 15, 2014 at 8:25 PM
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Replies (1-10):
jcrew6
by Gold Member on Apr. 15, 2014 at 8:26 PM
1 mom liked this

Will be curious to see more studies in the future. 

EireLass
by Ruby Member on Apr. 15, 2014 at 8:44 PM

BUMP!

EntrepeneurMom
by Bronze Member on Apr. 15, 2014 at 8:47 PM
8 moms liked this
But noooooo marijuana is the solution to world peace and if you don't think it's the most amazing thing ever you're ignorant and brainwashed by the government!
Ziva65
by Gold Member on Apr. 15, 2014 at 8:52 PM

Interesting. I don't doubt it.

I know a few very long term pot smokers, they are all a bit off- happy, but not very focused. Honestly, I donot recall them being like that 30 years ago- I don't know. It would be interesting to read more on teh study, such as, at whet point did they do the brain scans, was it more related to the smoke with the drug in their system, or results over time, unrelated to smoking within the last x period of time..

jcrew6
by Gold Member on Apr. 15, 2014 at 9:05 PM

Additional studies:


http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/teen-pot-use-could-hurt-brain-memory-new-research-suggests-f2D11741988


http://healthyliving.msn.com/blogs/daily-apple-blog-post?post=3e023b74-3f7a-4a3e-baee-ed52039eb258


http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/11/22/scientists-discover-that-cannabis-may-reduce-brain-damage-caused-by-alcohol/


http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201312/heavy-marijuana-use-alters-teenage-brain-structure

Arroree
by Ruby Member on Apr. 15, 2014 at 9:21 PM
9 moms liked this

Anything you do will have some sort of effect on you in either the short or long term, foolish to think otherwise.

Now if anyone tries to use this to say that it should remain illegal is also foolish considering the horribly negative side effects of many MANY other legal things, alcohol and caffiene being some of the worst...

jcrew6
by Gold Member on Apr. 15, 2014 at 9:24 PM

I don't think it will change the current movement to legalize marijuana.  

Quoting Arroree:

Anything you do will have some sort of effect on you in either the short or long term, foolish to think otherwise.

Now if anyone tries to use this to say that it should remain illegal is also foolish considering the horribly negative side effects of many MANY other legal things, alcohol and caffiene being some of the worst...


RandRMomma
by Maya on Apr. 15, 2014 at 9:32 PM
3 moms liked this
I'm willing to bet that there are changes in the brain of someone that drinks alcohol. Using this as a means of stating why marijuana should be illegal would be illogical. By that logic, everything that has an effect on the brain should he illegal, including alcohol, some foods, cigarettes, etc.
RandRMomma
by Maya on Apr. 15, 2014 at 9:33 PM
6 moms liked this
Marijuana IS a good thing. Those that think otherwise are hypocrites if they do not think that alcohol should be banned.

MJ is better than you than most prescription pain killers. There's no arguing with that fact.


Quoting EntrepeneurMom: But noooooo marijuana is the solution to world peace and if you don't think it's the most amazing thing ever you're ignorant and brainwashed by the government!
TigOlBitties
by Bronze Member on Apr. 15, 2014 at 9:35 PM
9 moms liked this
While I will reserve judgment on this study until I know more about it, I feel like you'll find changes in every brain over time. Kind of like how our bodies change over time...hard to blame it on one single thing.
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