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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, 11:13 AM   #91
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Originally Posted by BCD View Post
Why do people blindly accept all of the potentially dangerous and sometimes deadly side effects of pharmaceuticals, but complain about the relatively mild side effects of weed?
1.) Only stupid people do that.

2.) The side effects of various pharmaceuticals has no bearing on whether or not marijuana use has any detremental consequences.

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How many deaths are directly attributed to Marijuana use?
3.) I really don't know. However, the OP did not attribute deaths to marijuana use.
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:16 AM   #92
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2.) The side effects of various pharmaceuticals has no bearing on whether or not marijuana use has any detremental consequences.
The profit margins of pharmaceutical companies absolutely DOES have a bearing on what detrimental consequences they tell us exist.
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:18 AM   #93
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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.
This.
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:21 AM   #94
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Originally Posted by htismaqe View Post
The profit margins of pharmaceutical companies absolutely DOES have a bearing on what detrimental consequences they tell us exist.
So the bottom line is you have your mind made up that nothing bad could ever happen from marijuana use?

Keep in mind that I'm not directing this as an attack on marijuana or it's users. I simply find it odd that any time someone mentions that there might be one bad thing about marijuana then everyone freaks out and acts like it isn't possible.
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:21 AM   #95
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People do it every day.
Really quiet people?
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:22 AM   #96
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Really quiet people?
no, really dumb people
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:24 AM   #97
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Originally Posted by htismaqe View Post
The profit margins of pharmaceutical companies absolutely DOES have a bearing on what detrimental consequences they tell us exist.
I wonder what the profit margins are going to be for legal pot?
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:24 AM   #98
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Originally Posted by htismaqe View Post
The profit margins of pharmaceutical companies absolutely DOES have a bearing on what detrimental consequences they tell us exist.
As well as some doctors who are getting Carribean cruises and the like as kickbacks
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:25 AM   #99
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I simply find it odd that any time someone mentions that there might be one bad thing about marijuana then everyone freaks out and acts like it isn't possible.
Yep.
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:29 AM   #100
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I don't see anyone doing that.

Just check out the average American's medicine cabinet.
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:31 AM   #101
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Just check out the average American's medicine cabinet.
You think that would prove this?

Why do people blindly accept all of the potentially dangerous and sometimes deadly side effects of pharmaceuticals
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:35 AM   #102
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So the bottom line is you have your mind made up that nothing bad could ever happen from marijuana use?
Did I say that?

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Originally Posted by loochy View Post
Keep in mind that I'm not directing this as an attack on marijuana or it's users. I simply find it odd that any time someone mentions that there might be one bad thing about marijuana then everyone freaks out and acts like it isn't possible.
Please note that the study posted didn't say that there "might be one bad thing" about marijuana.

It implied, among other things, that pot smokers are akin to paranoid schizophrenics.
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:35 AM   #103
htismaqe htismaqe is offline
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I wonder what the profit margins are going to be for legal pot?
That's exactly what the pharmaceutical companies wonder, and why they're lobbying so hard to make sure it doesn't happen.
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:39 AM   #104
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Did I say that?



Please note that the study posted didn't say that there "might be one bad thing" about marijuana.

It implied, among other things, that pot smokers are akin to paranoid schizophrenics.
Please not that the study posted didn't say that "pot smokers are paranoid schizophrenics."
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:40 AM   #105
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That's exactly what the pharmaceutical companies wonder, and why they're lobbying so hard to make sure it doesn't happen.
? They could join in on the fun. If there's money to be made, they'll get in on it.
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