Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Long-Term Marijuana Use - This Is Your Brain on Drugs

A Harvard-Northwestern study has found differences between the brains of young adult marijuana smokers and those of nonsmokers. In these composite scans, colors represent the differences — in the shape of the amygdala, top, and nucleus accumbens. Yellow indicates areas that are most different, red the least.Credit       The Journal of Neuroscience

From age 18-21 I was a regular marijuana user. One day - the day of my conversion to Jesus - I stopped, forever. To quote Eric Clapton ("Cream"), "I'm so glad, I'm so glad, I'm glad, I'm glad, I'm glad."

That was during my college years. Dr. Hans Breiter, professor of psychology and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University, says that “Working memory is key for learning. If I were to design a substance that is bad for college students, it would be marijuana.” ("This Is Your Brain on Drugs")

Breiter is co-author of a Harvard-Northwestern study published in the April 2014 Journal of Neuroscience. ("Cannabis Use is Quantitatively Associated with Nucleus Accumbens and Amygdala Abnormalities in Young Adult Recreational Users.") The results of the study are:

  • Recreational marijuana uses results in structural differences in two areas of the brain. (See "Casual Marijuana Use Linked to Brain Abnormalities.") 
  • "With the brain developing into the mid-20s, young people who smoke early and often are more likely to have learning and mental health problems." 
  • High-THC marijuana is associated with paranoia and psychosis, according to a June article in The New England Journal of Medicine. “We have seen very, very significant increases in emergency room admissions associated with marijuana use that can’t be accounted for solely on basis of changes in prevalence rates,” said Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and a co-author of the THC study." 
  • In the Harvard-Northwestern study "all smokers showed abnormalities in the shape, density and volume of the nucleus accumbens, which “is at the core of motivation, the core of pleasure and pain, and every decision that you make,” explained Dr. Breiter."
  • "Evidence of long-term effects is also building. A study released in 2012 showed that teenagers who were found to be dependent on pot before age 18 and who continued using it into adulthood lost an average of eight I.Q. points by age 38."
My last joint was 45 years ago when my mental fog was healed. To quote another Clapton Cream song, "I feel free!"

See also:

Science News, "High-potency pot smokers show brain fiber damage." "People who use especially potent pot show signs of damage in a key part of their brain."

Psychological Medicine, "Effect of high-potency cannibis on corpus callosum microstructure." (Vol. 46, Issue 4, March 2016)

Oh - BTW - recreational marijuana use is against the law. So for a follower of Jesus whether or not to recreationally use marijuana is a no-brainer - it's against the law. Unless breaking the law is needed to advance the cause of Christ [like Jesus-followers in oppressive atheistic cultures] then it's beyond-difficult to see how recreational marijuana use would promote Christ.