While medical marijuana and recreational marijuana are being debated all over the United States, a study by Harvard claims that we might want to be more careful with legal weed since it’s claimed that smoking pot can cause “significant brain abnormalities.”
In a related report by The Inquisitr, Florida’s medical marijuana amendment scheduled to be voted on this November has shown to be very popular with the public according to polls. A New York bill working its way through the system claims that Federal marijuana laws are unconstitutional. Regardless, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives does not desire legal weed even though one Republican recently proposed a Federal bill to legalize pot and consider it a controlled substance similar to certain medications.
The political battle may fall in favor of smoking pot, but some researchers are still arguing over whether or not consuming cannabis is healthy. For example, some dispensaries are claiming that their customers who use marijuana plants to treat various ailments report a reduction in pain between 20 and 50 percent.
But according to a new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers from Harvard and Northwestern studied young Millennials who often smoked recreational marijuana and they were shocked to discover that even those who imbibe only a few times a week were suffering from brain abnormalities in the sections that control emotion and motivation.
Anne Blood, a co-author of the study, said their results may change the perspective of those who believe recreational marijuana is completely safe:
“There is this general perspective out there that using marijuana recreationally is not a problem — that it is a safe drug. We are seeing that this is not the case.”
Hans Breiter, another co-author of the marijuana study, said they looked at the nucleus accumbens and the amygdala using various neuroimaging techniques. These sections are responsible for gauging whether or not to take certain actions and also provides the sensation of pleasure for food, sex, and social interactions. They discovered that even pot smokers who consume marijuana on a limited basis suffered from structural changes in their brain, which Breiter says could mean a warning sign:
“We looked specifically at people who have no adverse impacts from marijuana — no problems with work, school, the law, relationships, no addiction issues. This is a part of the brain that you absolutely never ever want to touch. I don’t want to say that these are magical parts of the brain — they are all important. But these are fundamental in terms of what people find pleasurable in the world and assessing that against the bad things. People think a little marijuana shouldn’t cause a problem if someone is doing OK with work or school. Our data directly says this is not so.”
At this point the recreational marijuana study is planning on starting a larger study to determine what issues the brain abnormalities may be causing, or if the changes are positive or negative. What do you think about the recent laws regarding medical marijuana now that you’ve read about the results of this study?