Is it possible that 2016 studies have concluded that weed kills brain cells? While over half of America’s states legalized marijuana for recreational or medical purposes leading up to the end of 2016, there is still concern by organizations like the DEA that not enough testing has been done to protect weed smokers.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, there were lots of new studies from 2015 that show marijuana, weed, or cannabis are promoting positive results with brain cells as well as at least one study that showed weed does kill brain cells.
However, there is one study that will be conducted in 2017 that will likely break headlines when it is complete.;ld — and it may show that marijuana does kill brain cells, but they are cancerous ones.
Currently, there are several angered members of the public in Australia that want a promised and funded research study to begin as soon as possible. According to ABC in Australia, the study was promised in 2014, but now it has been delayed until 2017. The premise of the study is to show if smoking weed kills brain cancer cells.
Countering this, there was another study done that said smoking weed does not kill brain cells, but instead helps them sustain injuries. When someone incurs a traumatic brain injury, it is often the secondary lesions that crop up during the brain healing process that cause multiple issues such as memory loss, seizures, and personality changes.
Despite this, in a 2001 study, when mice were given cannabis, the brain injury was not as pronounced. This research about weed and brain cells was first published in Nature in 2001, but now there is an October update from ABC that states this research was re-conducted, and the new information about a link between brain injuries and cannabis will be available in 2017.
Another popular headline in 2016 is how marijuana is thought to improve brains in correlation to reducing opioid addiction. The New Haven Register wrote on December 18 that St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut, was recently given the go-ahead for a study about how smoking weed is helping brain cells to avoid addiction to painkillers or opioids.
The research will be published in 2017, and the purpose of the study is to show if smoking weed helped the brain avoid addiction to painkillers after an injury.
One other interesting thing to note is that the head of the legalized marijuana authorities in Connecticut, Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan Harris, hopes this is not their last cannabis study of 2017.
In fact, Jonathan Harris sees this study at St. Francis Hospital to be the first one of many for Connecticut, and Harris hopes that the state eventually becomes a headquarters for “marijuana research, creating more good jobs and supplementing biotech research and other health-care research that’s being done in the state.”
The bad news is that there was a 2016 study published that shows weed does kill brain cells… sort of… and only in mice. The highly quoted study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience in June 2016.
The summary of the study is that Japanese researchers noticed that the brain connectivity in mice was lessened when they were exposed to the effects of smoking weed.
There was also another study published in September on the National Institute of Drug Abuse website that also implicated that this “pruning” of neurons of the brain from smoking weed could be dangerous to teens since neuron pruning is how they develop many mental illnesses at that point in their development.
Regardless, this was not conclusive, and it was debunked at least as far as schizophrenia is concerned. While it has also been assumed that smoking weed improves brain cells for people with certain types of mental health issues, very few studies have been conducted on smoking weed and how it may be causing mental problems.
One study that was done on mental health and smoking weed pertains to schizophrenia in young people.
Although the Journal of Neuroscience had a study in June that concluded there could be problems with teen brains from smoking weed, a December 19 report from Bristol Post states that Bristol University found that it is unlikely that smoking weed causes teenagers to develop schizophrenia.
About this study, Dr. Suzi Gage cautioned that there were more studies needed before confirming or denying this correlation.
In another study, it was implied that smoking weed might kill brain cells because it might reduce blood flow to the brain. Health Canal and others published on this research, but this study was primarily conducted by Amen Clinics in California, and their specialization is treating ADD as well as other conditions with SPECT technology.
Another commonly cited study in 2016 about smoking weed and whether or not it kills brain cells was published in Frontiers in Pharmacology. In short, after three months of smoking weed, the participants did not show a decline of executive functioning.
Instead, after three months of smoking weed, brain function might have been improved in these patients because they “evidenced improvement in certain aspects of performance on these measures, particularly with regard to time required to complete tasks.”
Regardless, one of the oldest researchers on the idea of whether or not smoking weed kills brain cells recently gave a warning to the public about these marijuana studies. In short, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, founder of the THC molecule in 1964, gave a speech at the Marijuana for Medical Professionals conference in November in Denver, Colorado.
Dr. Mechoulam talked specifically about the dangers of cannabis research conducted by the wrong people. Marijuana Times also noted that Dr. Mechoulam gave a call to action to the medical professionals at the Denver conference, and said that 2017 was the time for clinical trials.
On Dr. Mechoulam’s marijuana research wishlist included more studies about anxiety and CBDs as well as the role of the cannabinoid CB2. Dr. Mechoulam did not talk about whether smoking weed kills brain cells, but he did make a prediction that CBD would “become an antischizophrenic compound in the next two years.”
As it appears, President Barack Obama may have helped Dr. Mechoulam with his wish for more research about smoking weed in 2017.
In October, according to NY Times, President Obama lifted restrictions that forced American marijuana researchers to only use a low-THC strain approved by the DEA that was issued from the University of Mississippi. The process for obtaining the low-THC marijuana strain also took researchers several years to acquire.
Now, the marijuana researchers will still have to receive approval from federal agencies including from the DEA and the FDA, but the strains will no longer be limited to one type.
Although it still considers smoking marijuana to be dangerous, the DEA is also allowing other universities besides the University of Mississippi to grow weed for research.
Since America was largely prohibited from conducting studies about whether smoking weed is killing brain cells, another country became top in conducting marijuana research: Israel.
The Cannabist published a report about Israel and how it became a medical marijuana research world capital, and in September, they noted there are several 2017 cannabis studies that will be conducted in Israel, and one will focus on autism.
[Feature Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]