While a lot of people seem to assume that there is something about marijuana that makes people ‘stupid’ or lowers their IQs we can put that myth behind us. This study from 2015 helps prove even more-so how beneficial marijuana is to fight Alzheimer’s and how it doesn’t hurt our IQs at all.
This study comes from researchers from the University of Texas. It was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and was quite interesting, to say the least. It really delves into the long-term effects of marijuana use on the brain.
These researchers were able to reveal that the early onset of regular marijuana use actually leads to greater structural and functional connectivity within the brain itself. There were roughly 100 participants in this study and they also noted a reduced gray matter in the orbitofrontal cortex in those people who were considered to be long-term users. The authors controlled for tobacco and alcohol use as well and those who were considered avid users were people who consumed the drug three times each day.
In a statement, Dr. Sina Aslan founder and president of Advance MRI, LLC and adjunct assistant professor at the University of Texas at Dallas said as follows in regards to this study:
“What’s unique about this work is that it combines three different MRI techniques to evaluate different brain characteristics.”
This meaning they really went above and beyond to get a good image of the brain and where it was physically. The difference in brain structure are not anywhere near as huge as people might assume they are and users should not be looked down on. Other research has even shown that marijuana use promotes brain cell growth in itself.
The abstract of this study goes as follows:
Questions surrounding the effects of chronic marijuana use on brain structure continue to increase. To date, however, findings remain inconclusive. In this comprehensive study that aimed to characterize brain alterations associated with chronic marijuana use, we measured gray matter (GM) volume via structural MRI across the whole brain by using voxel-based morphology, synchrony among abnormal GM regions during resting state via functional connectivity MRI, and white matter integrity (i.e., structural connectivity) between the abnormal GM regions via diffusion tensor imaging in 48 marijuana users and 62 age- and sex-matched nonusing controls. The results showed that compared with controls, marijuana users had significantly less bilateral orbitofrontal gyri volume, higher functional connectivity in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) network, and higher structural connectivity in tracts that innervate the OFC (forceps minor) as measured by fractional anisotropy (FA). Increased OFC functional connectivity in marijuana users was associated with earlier age of onset. Lastly, a quadratic trend was observed suggesting that the FA of the forceps minor tract initially increased following regular marijuana use but decreased with protracted regular use. This pattern may indicate differential effects of initial and chronic marijuana use that may reflect complex neuroadaptive processes in response to marijuana use. Despite the observed age of onset effects, longitudinal studies are needed to determine causality of these effects.
For more information on marijuana and some of the benefits please feel free to check out the video below. What do you think about all of this? Do you have a stance in regards to the use of marijuana?