Study: Effects of Smoking Marijuana Include Brain Changes

by Burke Speaker | April 16, 2014 10:30 am

A new study has shown that the effects of smoking marijuana include brain changes in areas associated with motivation and emotion.

medical-marijuana-stocks-penny-stocks-mjna-cbis-phot[1]The study [2]is reportedly the first to study even light marijuana use.

“Some of these people only used marijuana to get high once or twice a week,” said co-author Hans Breiter as quoted in Northwestern University’s Science Newsline. “People think a little recreational use shouldn’t cause a problem, if someone is doing OK with work or school. Our data directly says this is not the case.”

The report raises the debate that the effects of smoking marijuana — even casually — may impact long-term health. But the study does not determine if casual to moderate use is harmful to the brain in the long term.

Via the Washington Post:[3]

The study analyzed 20 pot smokers and 20 non-pot smokers between 18 and 25. Scientists asked them to estimate how much marijuana they smoked and how often they lit up over a three-month test period[4]. Even those who smoked once a week showed brain abnormalities, while larger changes were seen in those who smoked more.

Studies on the effects of alcohol have shown similar results — noting brain changes that impact mood and emotion.[5]

The study comes out amid changing public perception of the drug, with marijuana legalized in Colorado and parts of Washington state.

A number of other states have introduced — some passing — legislation that decriminalizes the drug, including most recently the state of Maryland.[6]

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