Marijuana Use Does Cause Brain Damage Says Study

MarijuanaThe debate on the negative consequences of marijuana use seem to go on and on with no conclusion in sight. Research released today, however, on marijuana use and the brain may bring the debate to a close, as it puts forth that the casual use of marijuana does indeed cause brain damage. The study, published on Wednesday in the Journal of Neuroscience, which was undertaken by psychiatrist and mathematician Hans Breiter from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, analyzed the correlation between casual marijuana use and structural changes in the brain. The conclusion: that even casual use among young adults was enough to cause significant brain abnormalities in two important brain structures.

The amygdala and the nucleus accumbens were the parts of the brain where the abnormalities were most prevalent. These two regions of the brain are responsible for processing emotions, making decisions, and motivation. Damage to these parts of the brain often yield some types of mental illness such as anxiety disorders, paranoia, bi-polar and depression, and Breiter argues that this is the part of the brain that, “you do not want to mess with.”

Breiter’s study involved a sample of 40 patients between the ages of 18 and 25. Of those involved, 20 were marijuana users and 20 were well-matched control subjects. Among participants that were marijuana users, there was a wide-range in usage of the drug, ranging from those that used the drug a couple of times a week to those that used it every day. What was found was the more often marijuana was smoked, the more the participants brains differed from the group of non-users.

With the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the researchers analyzed the brains of the individuals in the study, focusing on the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens, taking note of the volume, density, and shape of these areas. The researchers observed that for the nucleus accumbens, the volume, density, and shape, were all abnormal. With a rise in abnormalities as the amount of marijuana used increased. In the amygdala, there were abnormalities in the shape and density, with an increase in the volume with use. In comparison to the control group of non-users, the relationship between marijuana use and abnormal changes in the brain was undeniable.

The results of the research necessitate further studies on the long-term effects of marijuana use, explained Breiter, in order to find answers to questions like: what happens to users who stop using the drug, does early intervention make a difference, and how does the brain change over longer periods of time with sustained use?

Jodi Gilman, an instructor of psychology at Harvard Medial School and one of the author’s of the study, articulated that the findings are eye-opening and that this has major implications for young adults who do not consider the consequences of marijuana use. As a young adult, individuals are making major decisions in life, “when you are choosing a major, starting a career, making long-lasting friendships and relationships.” Generally speaking, people tend to take the impact that marijuana use has on these basic functional capacities of the brain as inconsequential, and tend only to focus on the benefits associated with the drug in regards to treating certain illnesses such as depression, cancer, and glaucoma.

Breiter stated that for young adults, as the brain continues to develop well into their 20’s and even into their 30’s, the fact that marijuana does cause brain abnormalities is of great concern. Breiter’s research is among the first of its kind to provide hard-hitting facts that demonstrate how marijuana use does in fact cause damage to the brain, which has been vigorously contested by individuals who tout only the positive benefits of the drug, and argue that the use of marijuana has no negative impacts on the brain.

Associate professor at Harvard Medical School, Staci Gruber, has performed her own research on the subject of marijuana usage and brain abnormalities. Gruber’s expressed that Breiter’s research is consistent with her own which supports that marijuana use does cause brain damage, saying that the evidence is only growing which substantiates long-held claims that use of marijuana, “in emerging adults is associated with differences in brain structure and cognitive abilities.” The significance of research such as this is not to demonize the drug, Gruber stated, or associate the drug with the same harmful effects as other more dangerous drugs like heroin and cocaine, but to bring awareness to the potential harms of smoking weed on the brain and emphasize that it is, “not quite the benign substance that people thought it was.”

In other research it was found that marijuana negatively impacts IQ points among regular users. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, asserts that there needs to be more recognition of these facts, especially in a political environment that is gradually growing more accepting of the drug and the movement to legalize it’s use expands.

In March of this year debate was hot over Governor Jerry Brown’s statement that, because he believes weed negatively impacts both awareness and motivation, he is not in favor of legalizing it in California. Brown argued that states like Colorado and Washington will reveal, in time, the ways in which marijuana legalization impacts not only the general population of weed users, but the youth population who will be able to access it more readily.

Colorado’s governor, John Hickenlooper, is already facing challenges with the marijuana usage among the youth in his state. As new surveys that indicate an increase among young individuals who are picking up the habit of smoking weed coincides with other research that evidences the particularly harmful effects of the drug on young brains which are still developing. The new research published today provides the public with facts that indicate how young minds exposed to marijuana could potentially be damaged, perhaps even permanently.

It is commonly acknowledged that marijuana has a negative impact on the memory receptors of the brain. Breiter explained that there were abnormalities in patient’s working memory, which is fundamental to everything that people do. He continued on to say that working memory is fundamental to everyday things such as planning things, being aware of ones environment, decision-making and most importantly proper judgement.

Given the young ages of the patients in the study, Breiter expresses concern that the brain abnormalities seen in the study could eventually cause substantial effects on a person’s brain development and behavior, and that these results should be a wake up call to others. The researchers do not mean the study to compare marijuana use to other harmful and life threatening substances that are legal, such as tobacco and alcohol; nor is it meant to take away from the beneficial uses of marijuana like treating pain in cancer patients, but certainly the hope is that the research will shed much-needed light on the subject of the drug and how, when used without caution, marijuana does in fact cause damage to the brain. It is important that the harms of marijuana use are not over-shadowed by the potential benefits of the drug, as the push to legalize it becomes more popular.

By Natalia Sanchez

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49 Responses to "Marijuana Use Does Cause Brain Damage Says Study"

  1. kenny   June 8, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    fact all pain medicines opiates are mostly derived from the same stuff heroin is made from
    fact…every medicine has some sorta side effect
    fact would you take spiral pain killers that usually lead to death or not one but take a mary j pill
    as a disabled vet I see both good and bad in all drugs
    opiate dependent and tolerant is killing Many
    I actually done drug watches because our coast guard doesn’t have the range of navy
    navy as a floating drug task force in mobile,al
    I Done all my research and math and have seen potheads
    I use it in a mild fashion and use it like a drug it was opiate addiction and possible death
    or use sparingly for pain and yes it makes people stupid for a couple hrs

  2. stf   April 14, 2016 at 5:24 am

    @Wouldn’t you like to know
    Why Snoop Doog is not having anything like brain damage or something? Or Bob Marley maybe?? Who smoked 20 joints a day.
    Think before you speak. It’s all natural, and not harmful, at least not like tobacco and alcohol.

  3. Wouldn't you like to know   February 2, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    I love how people convince themselves that alcohol is more damaging than weed. Weed has been proven to cause several brain issues including mental illnesses. Though it doesjn’t always cause illnesses, not everone may exoerience this. It’s amusing how people like to convince themselves further that it has health benefits. The brain suffers and young adults have come back from doctors with the lungs of heavy smokers. People are so foolish and stupid that they have no idea what they’re actually doing. I am surrounded by stupidity in my city. I will never stoop down to the level of a chippy oik who tells me otherwise. I actually have a brain and I don’t want to harm it with a temporary artificial high. Weed is NOT a herb either. As people like to think otherwise. Weed has been bread over the years to have a certain type of drug it contains to be stronger. Since the 60s, weed has become more potent and dangerous. Yes, it is dangerous. Deal with it. It’s a fact. If anyone thinks otherwise, you’re a fool. As far as I’m aware, the affect gradually becomes weaker on the user as the brain becomes accustomed to these chemicals, resulting in people becoming disatisfied. So, they turn to more harder substances. Now, not everyone may do this but a lot of mindless fools do it. Resulting in complete stupidity of that individual. Stupid idiotic brainless children think it’s so fun and so helpful. Ooh it has all these health benefits. it has all this and that and the government only hate it because they don’t make money of it. Pfff, idiots. I love how so many people actually believe weed is a good thing. Wake up and get over yourselves, idiots. If you’re dumb enough to actually smoke it then that goes to show you’re a fool. Ooh but people who smoke are so chilled and alright, they’re calm and this and that and blah blah don’t humour me. I have an IQ of over 150 and I will not let some imbecile tell me that I need to smoke this brain stupidifier (that’s now a word) as I am aware of all the harmful qualities it posesses. If you want to smoke it and be a poor minded fool, then be my guest. I will not sympathise when your brain turns to mush.

    • Dakot   January 8, 2018 at 7:00 pm

      This doesn’t sound like a comment by someone with a high iq

      • Dakota   January 8, 2018 at 7:24 pm

        This is scare propaganda funded by the special interest groups that would lose billions as a result of marijuana legalization. You’re very naive.

  4. James Jones   November 1, 2015 at 8:15 am

    they said that there were parts of the brain that were abnormal and iq points and (quick descicion making is what i think it is) were lowered. No I don’t believe you damaged your brain maybe you can heal a little bit by focusing on your health because I did haulcunate the first couple times smoking weed and I feel as though my childhood imagination was exploding away and you become more dead inside, so maybe there is slight damge since you were young and sensitive so my advice would be to go on a natural diet clean your system out by sweating and go running and stretching would be great meditating is difficult to do any good with but if you can accumulate any kind of focus and clear your mind it feels amazing when you get up totaly free of anger and sadness so calm and beautiful feeling. But people have much much more brain damge caused by other unatural drugs so think of it as an eye opening enjoyable experience if it was one.

  5. ivana   August 24, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    When I was 14 I smoked weed four times over the year. Have I permanently damaged my brain? I’m so scared I have. Will any damage if done ever heal?

  6. mermaidmarionterese   July 19, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    Well jf if cannabis oil cured cancer we would have no cancer..right? If specific strains cause panic attack, tell me how the general public is going to be educate enough to stay away from that strain. No such thing as physical addiction to marijuana…I think jf…you have burned a few brain cells of your own there…

  7. JF   January 27, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    This is truly ignorant. There is nothing new about the fact that marijuana causes changes in the brain. We already know the brain changes stop when pot usage stops and the brain will heal in time. We already know that marijuana use is much less detrimental to the body than tobacco and alcohol, which are legal. We already know that specific strains of it can cause panic attacks, while others relieve panic. We already know that cannabis oil CURES CANCER. We already know that in the history of marijuana use, which spans millennia, there is not a single recorded death or overdose from it. We already know there is no such thing as physical addiction to marijuana, and those who do become addicted are generally predisposed to addiction. Meaning it is not a physical addiction but a mental one, that could manifest as addiction to *anything*.

    The truth is that we could erase the national debt with legalization, both from the tax revenue of straight sales and a renewed textile industry, as well as savings in taxpayer money, in the form of NOT incarcerating people for use and minor possession, NOT wasting the time of our police forces, and NOT wasting time with the court system. Who even cares if legalization is for recreational use?! When does personal freedom and responsibility enter the debate? It doesn’t, because people are so brainwashed about the negatives, most of which are lies, that they don’t even see this as a public health issue rather than the criminal issue it’s been made out to be.

    Further, I find it particularly insidious that our federal government claims cannabis has no medicinal value, while simultaneously holding the patent on cannabis as medicine. Colorado would not find this endeavor so difficult if it had the full faith and backing of the federal government.

    No, not everyone has a great experience with it. That varies from one person to the next. But it is not fair to deny all people, as a matter of law, when there are so many medicinal benefits for a large portion of the population. Whoever believes marijuana does more harm than good either believes the hype rather than the science, or has their own personal negative experience which creates an overall bias that has no relevance to the facts.

    Bottom line, if you don’t like it, don’t do it! But don’t stick your nose into the business of others, whether it’s to deny people doing what they please in the privacy of their own homes, or to deny the millions of people who are sick and in pain from at least being able to try it and see if it improves their lives.

  8. Nate   January 23, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    It was never addictive for me, but I don’t think all the focus should be on legalizing recreational use. I think they should just grow industrial hemp everywhere, then the potency will go down because all the pot farmers will have to deal with the pollen blowing everywhere. Plus hemp seeds are good for the brain because of the omega 3s, it has cancer curring CBD’s, it gives you warm clothes, and there’s no THC. Its a very wonderful plant. Its just all the focus has been in making stronger cultivars of Indian Hemp for the drug potency.

  9. Jean-Paul   January 11, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    I am dependant. I used to smoke it for years. Thank God I will have been sober for 7 months tomorrow. Cannabis is indeed a very harmful substance and I know it from experience. I stopped smoking it when it started giving me panick attacks and possibly some unpleaseant neurological symptoms. I am on the waiting list to see a neurologist because of it. Don’t use drugs. Don’t smoke weed. The benefits are way outweighted by the harmful effects. I started it because of chronic pain and became hooked on it because addiction is a disease. It is way more toxic than it used to be in the 60s (300 % to 400 % more THC). It is no mild drug: it has became a hard drug. Believe me, I now suffer from brain damage because of it which will take years to heal. I believe it that it changes the agmydala because there is link between panick attacks and that part of the brain. Panick attacks are hell. Spare yourself the pain. Stay drugs free.

    • mermaidmarionterese   July 19, 2015 at 10:01 pm

      Thank you Jean Paul I have brothers whose personalities have been very much altered by this. Paranoia, panic, memory loss …just a nightmare for anyone around them. Unfortunately too few people are speaking up.

  10. tom   December 9, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Gfonts got me dying Jesus Christ……;-)

  11. Tawnia A Evans   December 4, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    I think that if your going to smoke the crap you should just pull the trigger on yourself

  12. britt   November 15, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Wow this is the most one sided this article could have gotten, please read the actual study where they mention that smoking weed chronically causes shrinking in certain areas of grey matter in the brain BUT they found that more connections where being made instead. They concluded that they need to further the research since those affected could still keep up with those who had not smoked. They also checked the IQs of each individual and found that the non smokers had a slightly higher IQ but could not confirm if doing truly decreased the stones IQ or if they began with lower IQs. They ended the study stating more research would have to be done to see how it truly effects those who use it.

  13. G. Fonts   November 11, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    I think that in some people that just thinking kills brain cells don’t believe me just read more of these comments.

  14. getolife   November 7, 2014 at 10:34 am

    It’s interesting to me that they are testing people who chose to be casual users of marijuana while the drug was illegal. It would seem that people making that choice might not be a random sample, but a self-selected group with similar mental/brain differences to begin with. Would marijuana have the same effect on people without those differences? Would the people they are testing have the “side effects” after years of not using any drug, but based on other factors (mental, physical, emotional)? It’s correlation without direct evidence of causation. Isn’t it?

  15. Matt   October 18, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Marijuana is not a soft drug, It is deadly like other hard drugs.

  16. Jenny   October 2, 2014 at 7:50 am

    Thank you for posting this article. I do agree that the healing agents of medical marijuana helped a lot of people. However, we are speaking of consistent use of it. Anything taken to an extreme will cause harm. A friend of mine had a son who smoked every single day for over two decades. He lived as an upstanding citizen and gave a lot to charity. Over the years, he noticed these particular changes in his son, as you’ve mentioned in the article, and said that Marijuana “got to his brain.” The young man was struggling with an addiction and so his relationship to marijuana was casual. Before his death, he said to his Father, “Dad, I am getting closer to God every day.” Case in point, some people will take anything to extreme and run their life into the ground. Your article proves that Marijuana produces brain damage in a regular user. I had read that alcohol can turn into THIQ in the brain of an alcoholic. Yet so many people are able to enjoy a drink at dinner and do not become addicted. I do believe if Marijuana is legalized, there will be the same number of recovering Marijuana users as there are alcoholics. There will be another legal substance for the youth to escape from their problems and potentially destroy their lives. Do I believe it should be legalized? No. It should not- by any means- be sold for recreational use. It should only be sold as an oil or medication, through a physician, for medical purposes. With the information you shared on how it effects our processing, planning, motivation, decision making and ability to discern, there’s no way it should be legalized. If not just for the youth, for all those who suffer from addiction problems. As an American Citizen, I do believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I do believe that recreational use of Marijuana would go against our value system. I do believe we have a freedom of choice and that drugs will always be available through dealers and people have the right to choose to self-destruct. And I do believe so many people suffer from depression and life circumstances that are difficult. Times are not easy right now and maybe more people than ever feel the need to escape. But that’s not the answer. We need more outreach for people who need psychological or emotional help. Start with that and build a society of people who come together to help one another. Start programs, charitable organizations and groups for those who suffer mental or emotional illness. We could use more outreach for families of victims of crimes. What about programs for the homeless people who got thrown out of their houses after the crash? Why are we focusing our energy on legalizing a drug when there are so many higher and more desirable causes to work toward. It would make the world a better place. Until then, it is not a good time to legalize Marijuana. We aren’t “there” yet.

  17. rofl   August 13, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Agree with Bryan Comeaux. Not enough info here provided to prove this theory.

  18. Michael   July 25, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    We all knew this was coming. ALL drugs, legal or not, have side effects. If you put a drug in your brain, then it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it is going to damage the brain.

    The stereotype of pot smokers as being “stupid and lazy” now has a scientific basis.

  19. nora   July 4, 2014 at 11:46 am

    I really never thought about this, but now that my young neighbor is smoking it and the smell comes into my home (down stairs) and is making myself and my family sick. My question is, What are my rights? The police can not do a thing my HOA says call the police, meanwhile this kid is harming us. I have already gone to the hospital and my HOA has done nothing. We need help !!.

    • Dirk Dalfs   August 12, 2014 at 5:21 am

      Have you tried talking to your neighbour?

    • werelioness   September 29, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      Make it impossible for the youth to ever attend college. Witch.

  20. Sergio J. Rodriguez   June 3, 2014 at 10:57 am

    They are talking about High-THC Cannabis, Very Low CBD. CBD(Cannabidiol) Protects your Working Memory and it Reduces Over Stimulation that THC causes. High CDB and Low THC would be the ideal for better Health. If in fact it is a medicine it should be treated as such, remember its not about getting High.

  21. Bryan Comeaux   May 31, 2014 at 2:44 am

    i notice it says casual use an young adults that seems politically motivated.
    also this brain abnormality, there seems to never be any clarification between wether this is abnormality of brain activity under a cat scan while under the influence of pot or if this is a structural brain damage that dosnt reverse once the pot has worn off
    also none of thees studies distinguish the difference between if pot is smoked which is of course full of crappy stuff and wether it is consumed without smoking
    also considering how much other stuff damages the brain wouldn’t it have to be more brain damage than other legally acessable items for example breathing polluted air, poppers and huffers prescription meds tobacco and alcohol shouldn’t we be getting a rating of how much brain damage is occurring as compared to there things like stress or coporasl puinishment that also causes signifigant brain damage emotional disorders alcoholism and lack of motivation as well as a n incres incidence of criminal behavior.?. real reliable and ultimately trustworthy information that respects all individuals right and ability to chose wether or not to use is ultimately going to result in the healthiest choices but using studies to arrive at a conclusion already preferred never will it just confirms the paranoia that the establishment is motivated by profit over people. ansd that the study was paid by employers and their agents that want a sober pliable workforce. not free thinkers that cant be coerced. after all they can fire one person for insubordination tis makes them ruler of one and thus all but they cant fire the whole workforce for the same thing theyd be out of business and since theres no real way to organize ourselves smoking pot spreads like the fire it is and so does its attitudes seeing through games uninhibited to call someone on it not being so programable i smoked pot and was plenty motivated i had a reason people on pot often see the futility of their efforts the reward isnt going to them when iv seen people work on wee dis when it was for their own projects or something they loved to do. in other words they don t want us high because it first sets our spirits free then our mind soon our body and ultimately our souls. and that is not something any industrialized system can exploit bit an industrialize society can thrive on it it will just have to change and it is anyway people are preferring flat corporations and working for less money to do what they love thees changes have some if not alot of credit by coming from individuals that smoked pot and it helped keep them idealistic even as they wer promoted instead of forgetting where they came from as in generations past. the big mistake of therapies is not that they smoked pot but that they quit and voted for ronald regan !

  22. Robcon   April 29, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    I have serious doubts that the commenter, “Natalia Sanchez,” is really her name and the writer of the article.
    One doesn’t even need a “scientific” study to discern that marijuana is detrimental to the brain. You can observe yourself the effects it has on those who smoke it. Of course, if you smoke it regularly your ability to discern has probably been damage.

  23. Susan AndJohn Marcille   April 17, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Just look at the sources for the article. That says it all for me. They gotcha!

  24. Siphersh   April 17, 2014 at 2:57 am

    “What we’re seeing is changes in people who are 18 to 25 in core brain regions that you never, ever want to fool around with”

    Does this guy really refer to psychopharmacology as “fooling around”? That’s not science. That’s scare propaganda.

  25. Conrad Diaz Sr.   April 16, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    There will be a day when it will be proven that Marijuana and Schizophrenia are directly related,guaranteed!

  26. J Varnos   April 16, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    There was no causation established, correlation, nothing more. This is nothing but sensationalism.

  27. John Nauss   April 16, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    These articles are quick to seize the opportunities to use the megaphone to suit their agendas. The study was so spun from what it could mean, to the level of gossip really. They whom are deemed in charge of the rest of us are afraid of loosing control. Such a study is useless and waste of money, they could have used it to work on problems of prescriptions that kill several thousands yearly. It’s really a group who are monkey like and these are monkey politics setting up straw-man arguments.

  28. Cody   April 16, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    The point most people miss from this, they didn’t prove it causes any negative damage, only that it changes the shape and structure of the brain, for all we know it could be better. Also, I just like to point out, everything kills brain cells. Taking a shower, the heat, increases your blood pressure, which kills brain cells, same as taking a crap, the strain increases blood pressure, which kills brain cells. Just like smoking cigs, drinking beer, and working out all destroy brain cells for one reason or another. The better question of the study would have been is how does this structural difference in the brain affect you, and is it permanent, and what is the amount of effect it has in relativity to other legal substances that also cause brain damage, i.e. alcohol? Also, the final thing I would like to add to this is, almost every great mind, inventor, writer, artist, and singer got their inspiration from drugs to do what they did. Don’t believe me, just to name a few, Steve Jobs, repeatedly spoke of his ideas for Apple coming from his use of LSD, also Bill Gates did too but was less open about it. Thomas Edison, discovered electricity, also drank tons of wine that was treated with coca leaves, the plant that makes cocaine. Sigmund Freud, the father of modern psychology, did more coke than a small horse could survive as well as many other drugs. Stephen King, used a lot of cocaine and downers to offset the cocaine use. Francis Crick, who designed current DNA models, the double helix as it’s known, told numerous friends and colleagues that he perceived the double helix model to explain DNA while on LSD. There are so many more.

  29. Bryan Borden   April 16, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    This study does not actually show anything conclusively. The sampling is far too small, the researchers’ understanding of how the changes they say they found affect the individuals is nonexistent and the study itself was funded by the agencies who most want marijuana to be kept illegal. Their conclusions show their bias in that they voice dire warnings and theorize extreme and negative results when all of the actual facts show the opposite, that the participants *did not* meet the criteria for drug dependence, that they *had not* increased the amount they used to get high, that marijuana use *did not* affect their studies or their other daily activities. For the researchers to say that the study points towards drug dependency is outrageous. Almost as outrageous as this site calling the atypical brain anatomy “brain damage” when they actually don’t know if anything has been damaged at all. The people’s brains could have been improved for all they know!

    • Natalia Sanchez   April 16, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      Very good points! After looking into it further I have realized that the study was very much in complete.

      • Natalia Sanchez   April 16, 2014 at 9:37 pm


    • Cody   April 16, 2014 at 2:20 pm

      Very good point, just showing there is a difference, doesn’t show what the difference is. Also, I’d like to point out, everything changes your brain chemistry, marijuana is no different. Even taking a crap on the toilet causes brain damage, because your increase in blood pressure kills brain cells. Just like smoking a cig, drinking a beer, working out, etc etc kills brain cells and causes brain damage. The better question of the study is to say whether like you pointed out if it is a good or negative improvement on the brain structure, as well as if it is permanent.

    • Herb Grinder   April 16, 2014 at 5:25 pm

      Damn,I couldn’t have said it better,thank you.

      • Natalia Sanchez   April 16, 2014 at 9:38 pm

        Well said Cody!

  30. Torrence   April 16, 2014 at 7:38 am

    The writer didn’t mention what the purpose of those brain parts do. How can he say they have brain damage when the study is only characterizing size and shapes of brain structures. For all they know, this structures could change shape if you smell febreeze in your house for a week! Marijuana smoke does something to structures in the brain (ie making larger or smaller) that’s all you can conclude!

    • Natalia Sanchez   April 16, 2014 at 11:05 am

      These were not my conclusions, but those of the researchers who conducted the study. I certainly understand that there are holes in their work, at least as far as we can tell. As you said, there are toxic side effects on the brain to many chemicals, and household products have been known to be among the most dangerous of them. I agree, their conclusion needs to be tested against a larger test group to see if the results are consistent, with clarifications on the effect of the brain changes on cognitive function.

    • Cody   April 16, 2014 at 2:24 pm

      Yeah, that is the point most people miss from this, they didn’t prove it causes any negative damage, only that it changes the shape and structure of the brain, for all we know it could be better. Also, I just like to point out, everything kills brain cells. Taking a shower, the heat, increases your blood pressure, which kills brain cells, same as taking a crap, the strain increases blood pressure, which kills brain cells. Just like smoking cigs, drinking beer, and working out all destroy brain cells for one reason or another. The better question of the study would have been is how does this structural difference in the brain affect you, and is it permanent, and what is the amount of effect it has in relativity to other legal substances that also cause brain damage, i.e. alcohol?

  31. ds   April 16, 2014 at 6:04 am

    The person who wrote this article didnt read carefully through the study at all. Even the people who performed this study stop short of making statements like “the study shows pot causes brain damage.” Terrible writer, awful researcher. Absent minded. Print this news story out on paper and save it in case you run out of toilet paper in your house.

    • Natalia Sanchez   April 16, 2014 at 11:13 am

      Breiter does state that his findings challenge the idea that there aren’t bad consequences associated with marijuana use, but you are right, the article should have been more careful in articulating that the brain abnormalities “may” cause damage to the brain, as opposed to associating changes in brain structure and visible abnormalities with brain damage, which was bad judgement in the choice of wording. Breiter did say that more research was necessary. I apologize for the poor articulation.

  32. Duncan20903   April 16, 2014 at 12:14 am

    Newsflash! People whose jobs depend on continuing drug prohibition tout “studies” that declare drugs are dangerous! Film at 11:00!

    • Cody   April 16, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      Lol, sad but true.

  33. chad   April 15, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    To say that marijuana negatively affects motivation is subjective and silly. I know many people who vaporize cannabis daily and make six figures. It is an empirical fact that alcohol is more lethal and dangerous than cannabis. The moral equivalence of condemning cannabis in society while approving alcohol is hypocrisy. Alcohol overdose can be fatal and According to the center for disease control there are 88,000 deaths attributed to excessive alcohol use alone not including accidents and driving. With prescription drugs there is a fatal overdose every 15 minutes while there has never been one documented fatal overdose with cannabis. There are no statistics for cannabis deaths as there are none. How can this be? It’s been in widespread use in the US for over 50 years now and in civilization for over 5,000.

  34. Kafantaris   April 15, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    “What we’re seeing is changes in people who are 18 to 25 in core brain regions [the accumbens and amygdala] that you never, ever want to fool around with,” says professor Hans Beiter.
    If this indeed proves to be so, marihuana use might need to be restricted before age 30.


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