Marijuana on the Brain

A new study revisits the effects of marijuana on the human brain. Many studies have been done on the topic in the past, but results are mixed. Most people have a strong opinion about whether using this drug is harmful or not, and whether it should remain illegal or be legalized.

Results of the Study

The study was a collaboration between the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health and U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, and was presented at a meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM) in San Antonio, TX. The data have yet to be peer-reviewed and published, but the conclusions state that chronic use of marijuana decreased certain receptors in the brain by up to 20 percent. These cannabinoid receptors influence pleasure, appetite, pain tolerance, coordination, memory, and other mental and bodily functions in the body.

The study also found, however, that after quitting the drug, the cannabinoid receptors increased again. This means that some of the negative effects of marijuana can be reversed over time.

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Other Conclusions

Past studies on the effects of marijuana have had a variety of conclusions, including that marijuana has no effect on the brain. While many people like to focus on studies with the results they personally want to hear, it is important for more information to be collected before we really know the long-term effects of marijuana.

Most people would admit that a pot user suffers from some sort of mental impairment. Whether it is a long-term effect or just for the moment, taking anything that decreases the capability of the brain is unhealthy. Even if the damage can be reversed, impairing one’s body and mind for moments of pleasure just doesn’t seem worth it to many.

Medical Uses for Marijuana

Over the years, studies have found some positive uses for marijuana. Cancer patients and others with chronic pain and fatigue sometimes find marijuana helps with pain or anxiety. It can help relieve nausea and stimulate the appetite in patients that are suffering from terminal illness. The medical marijuana field is booming in places like California that allow it, and more and more people are pushing to legalize the drug in the entire country.

The main concern with marijuana is that it does affect the brain, and it can influence the choices people make and the activities they participate in. We don’t want our kids to be smoking marijuana when they should be learning at school or participating in sports or extracurricular activities. We don’t want our employees doing pot because it makes them less productive. We don’t want our neighbors selling pot because it can lead to violence and the wrong crowd hanging around. While marijuana might not be the most devastating drug to most people, it does have negative effects, as studies show. There are better things for us and our young people to be doing with our time than getting high on pot for fun.

Sources

Molecular imaging shows chronic marijuana smoking affects brain chemistry

Chronic Pot Smoking Affects Brain Chemistry, Scans Show

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