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Old 04-15-2014, 10:12 PM  
Tribal Warfare Tribal Warfare is offline
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BREAKING NEWS!: Casual marijuana use linked with brain abnormalities

Casual marijuana use linked with brain abnormalities, study finds

Casual marijuana use may come with some not-so-casual side effects.

For the first time, researchers at Northwestern University have analyzed the relationship between casual use of marijuana and brain changes – and found that young adults who used cannabis just once or twice a week showed significant abnormalities in two important brain structures.

The study’s findings, to be published Wednesday in the Journal of Neuroscience, are similar to those of past research linking chronic, long-term marijuana use with mental illness and changes in brain development.

Dr. Hans Breiter, co-senior study author, said he was inspired to look at the effects of casual marijuana use after previous work in his lab found that heavy cannabis use caused similar brain abnormalities to those seen in patients with schizophrenia.

"The interaction of marijuana with brain development could be a significant problem."

- Dr. Hans Breiter, co-senior study author

“There were abnormalities in their working memory, which is fundamental to everything you do,” Breiter, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told FoxNews.com. “When you make judgments or decisions, plan things, do mathematics – anything you do always involves working memory. It’s one of the core fundamental aspects of our brains that we use every day. So given those findings, we decided we need to look at casual, recreational use.”

For their most recent study, Breiter and his team analyzed a very small sample of patients between the ages of 18 and 25: 20 marijuana users and 20 well-matched control subjects. The marijuana users had a wide range of usage routines, with some using the drug just once or twice a week and others using it every single day.

Utilizing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the researchers analyzed the participants’ brains, focusing on the nucleus accumbens (NAC) and the amygdala – two key brain regions responsible for processing emotions, making decisions and motivation. They looked at these brain structures in three different ways, measuring their density, volume and shape.

According to Breiter, all three were abnormal in the casual marijuana users.

“For the NAC, all three measures were abnormal, and they were abnormal in a dose-dependent way, meaning the changes were greater with the amount of marijuana used,” Breiter said. “The amygdala had abnormalities for shape and density, and only volume correlated with use. But if you looked at all three types of measures, it showed the relationships between them were quite abnormal in the marijuana users, compared to the normal controls.”

Because these brain regions are central for motivation, the findings from Northwestern help support the well-known theory that marijuana use leads to a condition called amotivation. Also called amotivational syndrome, this psychological condition causes people to become less oriented towards their goals and purposes in life, as well as seem less focused in general.

Given these eye-opening results, Breiter said that more research is needed to look into marijuana’s effects on the brain – even in those who use the drug only once or twice a month.

“We need to see what happens longitudinally,” Breiter said. “What happens as you follow people over time? What happens if they stop using – do these bad effects continue? What happens if you can intervene early?...My worry is we haven’t studied this compound and here we are looking to change legislation on it.”

Although Breiter’s team members did not examine the patients’ cognitive symptoms, they do believe that the brain abnormalities seen in their study could lead to substantial effects on brain development and behavior, especially given the young ages of the participants. Breiter also acknowledged the problems of analyzing a very small study sample – but said that their findings should still serve as a wake-up call to others.

“This study is just a beginning pilot study, but at the same time, the results that came out are the same as a canary in a coal mine,” Breiter said. “...The interaction of marijuana with brain development could be a significant problem.”
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Old 04-15-2014, 10:43 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Dick Bull View Post
I'm just going to throw out that IQ isn't an accurate measure of intelligence anyways.

Every thing we can do can have negative side effects if done to excess.
Well, it now appears that once or twice a week is excessive.
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Old 04-15-2014, 10:46 PM   #17
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not a very good study.

Quote:
Breiter and his team analyzed a very small sample of patients between the ages of 18 and 25: 20 marijuana users and 20 well-matched control subjects.
small sample size which limits the power of the study.

Quote:
“We need to see what happens longitudinally,” Breiter said. “What happens as you follow people over time? What happens if they stop using – do these bad effects continue? What happens if you can intervene early?...My worry is we haven’t studied this compound and here we are looking to change legislation on it.”

Although Breiter’s team members did not examine the patients’ cognitive symptoms, they do believe that the brain abnormalities seen in their study could lead to substantial effects on brain development and behavior, especially given the young ages of the participants. Breiter also acknowledged the problems of analyzing a very small study sample – but said that their findings should still serve as a wake-up call to others.
Here is some info from larger studies. His questions are disingenous as a review of literature would answer his questions.

Quote:
Long-term outcomes — Adverse consequences of cannabis use may diminish or disappear with sustained abstinence or reductions in use. As an example, a study found that previous heavy marijuana use was not associated with adverse effects on physical and mental health, quality of life, and sociodemographic measures [31]. These findings came from a study of 56 monozygotic male twins discordant for cannabis use, in which the cannabis using twins consumed cannabis for a mean of 1085 days, and had last used cannabis a mean of 20 years earlier. The control co-twins used cannabis for a maximum of five days in their lifetime. The twins reported no other significant illicit drug use. The study design controlled for many confounders because the twins had the same genes and shared many of the same environmental experiences during childhood. There were no significant differences between the former marijuana using twins and their siblings for:

Current level of education and household income
Proportion who were married and employed
Current level of health related quality of life
Lifetime nicotine abuse or dependence
Lifetime alcohol abuse or dependence
Lifetime risk of various mood or anxiety disorders
Medication use for medical problems in the past five years
Number of outpatient or emergency room visits in the past five years
Number of hospitalizations in the past five years
Eisen SA, Chantarujikapong S, Xian H, et al. Does marijuana use have residual adverse effects on self-reported health measures, socio-demographics and quality of life? A monozygotic co-twin control study in men. Addiction 2002; 97:1137.

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Neuropsychological effects — The long-term residual neurocognitive effects of cannabis abuse and dependence appear to be minimal, but some of the evidence is conflicting.

A meta-analysis including more than 600 cannabis users found no evidence that marijuana causes significant long term effects on neurocognitive processes [39]. These results were consistent with an epidemiologic study [40].
A study, completed after the meta analysis, administered a comprehensive neuropsychological test battery to monozygotic twin pairs discordant for regular marijuana use, in which neither twin used any other illicit substance regularly [41]. Testing was completed a minimum of one year after marijuana had last been used, with a mean of almost 20 years since last regular use. A total of 56 tests assessed the domains of general intelligence, attention, memory, executive functioning, and motor skills. Marijuana users performed significantly worse on only one of the tests compared with those who did not use marijuana.

While other studies have found evidence of deficits in attention, memory, executive functioning, and psychomotor speed related to dose and cumulative exposure to cannabis, these studies have involved smaller patient groups as well as potential confounding by ongoing or recent cannabis use and other factors [42-44].

Neuroimaging studies have attempted to correlate structural and neurophysiologic changes with long-term cannabis use. In one study, magnetic resonance imaging showed that long term, heavy use is associated with significantly reduced volumes in the hippocampus and amygdala (two regions of the brain rich in cannabinoid receptors) [45]. In addition, a greater cumulative cannabis exposure is associated with more severe volume reductions. Other investigations using positron emission tomography, transcranial Doppler sonography, and EEG, have all suggested neurophysiologic changes in chronic cannabis users [46-48].
from uptodate. I've posted it on this forum before....so please search for it. I dont want to muddy this post with all the citations that do exist.

Drug use of any kind is not recommended on someone with a developing brain (unless the benefits outweigh the risks). There is really no data showing that cannabis has any permanent neurological effects on a fully developed brain.
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Old 04-15-2014, 10:52 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by planetdoc View Post
There is really no data showing that cannabis has any permanent neurological effects on a fully developed brain.
You obviously never met my college roommate.

****ing pot heads.
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Old 04-15-2014, 10:53 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by planetdoc View Post
There is really no data showing that cannabis has any permanent neurological effects on a fully developed brain.
I don't keep up with the research very closely these days, since I have no intention of ever using cannabis again. Let's agree that you're right. Problem is, I'd feel pretty safe supposing that an overwhelming majority of us users started using it long before we had fully developed brains.
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Old 04-15-2014, 10:54 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Dick Bull View Post
I'm just going to throw out that IQ isn't an accurate measure of intelligence anyways.

Every thing we can do can have negative side effects if done to excess.
IQ tests are not designed to capture EVERY aspect of human intelligence. Their real purpose is to assess abilities like cognitive function, reasoning ability, and working memory.

Also using a substance- any substance with mind altering capabilities at an early age isn't good... regardless of excess.
Here's the study if you're curious...
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/20...20109.abstract

Also just to add I'm hugely in favor of legalizing Marijuana, just not for teens.
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Old 04-15-2014, 10:58 PM   #21
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Old 04-15-2014, 11:00 PM   #22
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“We need to see what happens longitudinally,” Breiter said. “What happens as you follow people over time? What happens if they stop using – do these bad effects continue? What happens if you can intervene early?...My worry is we haven’t studied this compound and here we are looking to change legislation on it.”

This is the problem. They studied young people who were already using pot. Did using pot tend to cause the abnormality or did the preexisting abnormality tend to cause pot usage?

Because these brain regions are central for motivation, the findings from Northwestern help support the well-known theory that marijuana use leads to a condition called amotivation. Also called amotivational syndrome, this psychological condition causes people to become less oriented towards their goals and purposes in life, as well as seem less focused in general.

No it doesn't. The study implies a link between pot use and unmotivated people. The link, if proven, is yet to be determined.
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Old 04-15-2014, 11:03 PM   #23
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this thread is making me dizzy.
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Old 04-15-2014, 11:04 PM   #24
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Old 04-15-2014, 11:10 PM   #25
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Old 04-15-2014, 11:21 PM   #26
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Old 04-15-2014, 11:21 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by listopencil View Post
The link, if proven, is yet to be determined.
Proving shit is not, like, high on my list of ... y,know ... priorities, man.
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Old 04-15-2014, 11:25 PM   #28
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I'm just going to throw out that IQ isn't an accurate measure of intelligence anyways..
Of course it is. IQ regresses extremely well with academic and job performance. It's accurate for the vast majority
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Old 04-15-2014, 11:29 PM   #29
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Of course it is. IQ regresses extremely well with academic and job performance. It's accurate for the vast majority
that's actually not true. Corporate America is my bitch and I puff prior to work sometimes. **** the man, dog.
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Old 04-15-2014, 11:31 PM   #30
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that's actually not true. Corporate America is my bitch and I puff prior to work sometimes. **** the man, dog.
My friend, have you read any of the studies linking the casual use of Comic Sans with brain abnormalities?
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