With changing attitudes and laws regarding marijuana in the United States that favor legalization and decriminalization, there is new science emerging to better understand the health effects of marijuana on the brain and body.
Recent Study on the Effects of Marijuana on the Brain
A study at Harvard and Northwestern University examined the brains of young adults between 18 and 25-years-old, comparing those who smoked pot recreationally and those who didn’t smoke at all.The study used participants with no legal, functional, emotional, or addiction issues so that the comparison to non-smokers would be valid.
Sadly, even for the young “healthy” pot smokers who used between one and four times a week, the drug contributed to noticeable physical and functional abnormalities in two parts of the brain (the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens). These parts of the brain are the center of motivation, memory, and the pleasure-reward area associated with food, sex, and social interaction. The more pot the individual smoked, the worse the abnormalities. Needless to say, there was no dysfunction or abnormality in any of the non-smoker’s brains.
What Does This Mean?
As marijuana becomes more readily available and accepted by the general public, more short-term and long-term consequences of marijuana use come to light. Studies like this will continue to be conducted and retested in the coming years.
This study doesn’t tell us, for example, whether or not these abnormalities may be reversible, or if they will continue to worsen over time if the individual’s habits do not change. However, this study gives us a glimpse into controversial territory, as it suggests that marijuana use is not nearly as safe as the public—particularly the young public—thinks it is. It would be interesting to see the results for older users in an identical study. Just because these young people didn’t have obvious or dysfunctional problems, doesn’t mean they won’t develop them with continued use. Also, any substance that physically alters the brain is probably not safe… for anyone.
Marijuana Addiction Treatment at Morningside Recovery
At Morningside Recovery, we don’t take any addiction or substance lightly. Although many people don’t believe in marijuana addiction, it’s a very real problem that people face. If someone you know needs addiction treatment services, specifically a marijuana addiction treatment program, then call us today at 855-631-2135. Don’t brush the effects of marijuana on the brain under the rug; get help now.