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Old 04-15-2014, 09:12 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 04-16-2014, 06:50 AM   #61
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Pot alters brain development? Who knew?
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Old 04-16-2014, 06:53 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by cosmo20002 View Post
Is it possible that the brain abnormalities were already there but people with that brain abnormality are more likely to want to smoke pot?
The brain abnormality is leading to the pot smoking and not the other way around?
i knew there would be a time where we had similar thoughts
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Old 04-16-2014, 06:57 AM   #63
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I've smoked pot off and on for 20+ years and know many, many people with advanced degrees and high-paying jobs that do it.

Losers smoke pot but smoking pot doesn't turn you into a brain-dead moron.

Bad science is bad science.
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Old 04-16-2014, 06:57 AM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmo20002 View Post
Is it possible that the brain abnormalities were already there but people with that brain abnormality are more likely to want to smoke pot?
The brain abnormality is leading to the pot smoking and not the other way around?
This.


A lot of the tendencies found in the study are 100% true with the people I know that smoke, but the issues were probably caused by shitty parenting and a poor template.
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Old 04-16-2014, 06:58 AM   #65
htismaqe htismaqe is offline
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Originally Posted by Tribal Warfare View Post
“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.”
Kind of like how we green light pharmaceuticals all the time?

The "we haven't studied it" argument is BS.
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Old 04-16-2014, 07:02 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by htismaqe View Post
"potential therapeutic uses" does NOT equal "cure all".

Curative, medicative, benignant... whatever.

The point I was raising is only that that the zeitgeist seems to be that pot is good for everything and everyone, which is not the case.

And I find it strange that many of the same people who emote about smoking in every way, from not wanting to smell it to the cost to all our health care, don't seem to have any issues with inhaling caricinogenic smoke from this source into your lungs. There are even studies out there that would tell you that marijuana smoke contains more carcinogens than tobacco smoke.

The debate seems to have moved from one realm of nonsense to another, from the irrationally bad to the irrationally good.
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Old 04-16-2014, 07:11 AM   #67
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Old 04-16-2014, 07:31 AM   #68
htismaqe htismaqe is offline
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Originally Posted by Cochise View Post
The point I was raising is only that that the zeitgeist seems to be that pot is good for everything and everyone, which is not the case.
You conveniently again ignored the word "potential".

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Originally Posted by Cochise View Post
And I find it strange that many of the same people who emote about smoking in every way, from not wanting to smell it to the cost to all our health care, don't seem to have any issues with inhaling caricinogenic smoke from this source into your lungs. There are even studies out there that would tell you that marijuana smoke contains more carcinogens than tobacco smoke.
Not sure where you got this. I don't participate in the DC forum so I really don't know what you're talking about. I personally detest cigarette smoking but don't care if someone else wants to smoke. The cost to our healthcare system is largely irrelevant to me personally. We also pay for people who huff gas and canned air. If dumbasses want to do it, fine with me, but I'd never personally do it.

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The debate seems to have moved from one realm of nonsense to another, from the irrationally bad to the irrationally good.
Well what did you expect? It's Merica after all.
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Old 04-16-2014, 07:54 AM   #69
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To those bitching about Marijuana:

Do you use alcohol?

If so, SHUT THE **** UP.
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Old 04-16-2014, 07:55 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by htismaqe View Post
I've smoked pot off and on for 20+ years and know many, many people with advanced degrees and high-paying jobs that do it.
Yeah but those people just like the ones I know do not have time to take part in such a study nor do they need the $100 being paid to take part in it.
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Old 04-16-2014, 07:56 AM   #71
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Yeah but those people just like the ones I know do not have time to take part in such a study nor do they need the $100 being paid to take part in it.
Precisely.
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Old 04-16-2014, 08:12 AM   #72
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A study came out last year that showed you can get a pretty heavy dose of pesticides from smoking pot. If there really are brain abnormalities, I wonder if they could be caused by the pesticides and not the pot itself? You would have to test and control for that, too, to know for sure.
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Old 04-16-2014, 08:13 AM   #73
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A study came out last year that showed you can get a pretty heavy dose of pesticides from smoking pot. If there really are brain abnormalities, I wonder if they could be caused by the pesticides and not the pot itself? You would have to test and control for that, too, to know for sure.
Can't do that. Have to blame marijuana. The makers of Lyrica are upset.
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Old 04-16-2014, 08:19 AM   #74
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True but alcohol is even more so that way.


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Old 04-16-2014, 08:29 AM   #75
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Originally Posted by htismaqe View Post
You conveniently again ignored the word "potential".
Sure, but in politics and marketing, potential may as well be reality and is often presented as such. The debate that was about stem cell research was the same thing.

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If dumbasses want to do it, fine with me, but I'd never personally do it.
The question is really, does pot cause smoking related illnesses. Certainly it can. (yes, potential) If so, then should we encourage it? I mean, sure, people should be able to do whatever they want, but since we're all going to have to pay for it if they get lung cancer, should we be marketing it...?

I don't care personally. I have no interest in drugs any longer, and I'd like it if people could do however many drugs they want so long as it didn't impact anyone else. But in reality, we're moving ever more toward a welfare state and so in practice it will affect everyone else.

I'm not for or against it really, but pot advocates often oversell it as some sort of a miracle tonic that cures what ails you, and I don't think that's any different from Reefer Madness type disingenous marketing.
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