Latest Scary Marijuana-Brain Damage Study

Repost from the old site.

A new study of cannabis and brain damage is continuing to get a lot of publicity.

Study Strengthens Marijuana Brain Damage Case is the title of the accompanying headline.

Marijuana users who had smoked more than 5 joints a day (average of 11 joints a day) for more than 10 years (average use of 20 years) were tested.

They found that there was shrinkage in the amygdala and the hippocampus related to how much cannabis the person used.

The shrinkage was not large in either structure. The damage is described as “equivalent to mild traumatic brain injury or premature aging.” The article:

Doctors have known for years there is nothing “soft” about the drug cannabis. Professor Jon Currie is the director of addiction medicine at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne.”This is a very exciting study because it proves for the first time what we have been really worried out. That brain problems are real and that people who smoke cannabis over a long term do get problems.” he said.

It’s also equivalent to drinking over 2 drinks per day. It’s equivalent to severe stress. It’s equivalent to having PTSD. It’s equivalent to all sorts of stuff.

This study was done by Nadia Solowij out of Australia. For whatever reason, every single study done by Solowij and colleagues seems to find pretty serious brain damage.

This study is pretty scary, but so far there have been four other studies of heavy cannabis users that did not find damage to the hippocampus or the amygdala.

An MRI study from 2005 of very heavy cannabis users who had used cannabis on average of 20,100 times found no damage to the hippocampus at all. A study of cannabis-using young adults from 2006 found no damage to the hippocampus, or to any other structure. And a third study also found no hippocampal damage .

The study of users from 2006 also found no damage to the amygdala. This study actually found that the hippocampus-amygdala was 5% larger in the cannabis users than in the non-users, but the difference was not thought to be significant.

So there you have it. There are some pretty scary new findings coming out about cannabis and damage to the limbic system, but things are still far from proven. The single study so hyped by the media nowadays has already been contradicted by four negative studies. You would think that the media might have noted that. You would think wrong.

The road forward? More studies, I guess. You could always try smoking less than five joints a day too, just to be on the safe side.

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9 thoughts on “Latest Scary Marijuana-Brain Damage Study”

  1. An average of 11 joints a day for more than 10 years? Meaning they had some people who had smoked like 12, 13, 14 joints a day for over a decade?

    Jesus Christ man, I’m surprised they were even still mobile, much less capable of participating in a study.

    On the plus side, “mild traumatic brain injury or premature aging” would be the least concern of someone who had drunk 14 beers a day for over a decade. Hell, 14 extra strength Tylenols a day would kill most people within a few weeks.

    The fact of the matter is that most likely any psychotropic substance that is heavily consumed, or any material you burn then exhale into your lungs is going to fuck up your body. The real question has never been whether or not cannabis is 100% harmless (although prohibitionists like to frame the argument in these terms), but rather whether the overall social costs of prohibition are worse than the social costs of regulated public sale and consumption.

  2. Who smokes that much? Virtually no one. Another study that proves that people who don’t use drugs, yet conduct studies for scientific propoganda purposes, have permanent brain damage caused by never having used mind-expanding substances ever in their lives.

    Nearly all the really bad stuff on the planet is caused by people who are NOT ON DRUGS: Wars, poverty, famines, genocides, environmental destruction, and Adult Contemporary Christian Pop “Music”. WISE UP!

    A lot, or most, of the great art, music, writing, and creative thinking in the past 200 plus years has been created by folks who either over-indulged, or at least dabbled, with substances other than alcohol and tobacco (SOTAAT).

  3. These were extremely heavy users who have been stoned 24/7 for a decade or more. Compared to those who have been drunk 24/7 for that long, drinking a liter of vodka a day, these folks aren’t too shabby. And they are hardly representative of cannabis users in general, as so few users smoke even nearly that much.

    “The road forward? More studies, I guess. You could always try smoking less than five joints a day too, just to be on the safe side. ”

    I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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