Use of Marijuana linked to Brain Activities

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on November 21, 2014.

According to a new study published under 'Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)', researchers at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas, have revealed that long-term use of marijuana definitely change the activities of brain, but there is evidence to suggest that the impacts are negative or hazardous. Using marijuana daily for four years or longer may be related to certain changes in the brain, the study said.

The researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine the brains of 48 adults who were chronic marijuana users. They used pot at least thrice in a day for four years or more. The researchers also gathered the data from 62 people who did not use marijuana. The regular pot users had a smaller volume of gray matter in orbitofrontal cortex, which is associated with addiction.

The chronic marijuana users showed higher connectivity between different parts of the brain as compared to the people who did not use marijuana. The study further clarified that more activities inside the brain are not necessarily negative. However, it is difficult to say what consequences these changes may have for users in the long run. The effects of chronic marijuana use on the brain may depend on age of first use and duration of use, opined the researchers.

The researchers dismissed the myth that marijuana use lower IQ. Rather, they hint at evidences of marijuana's possible role in fighting Alzheimer’s disease. They all agreed that the study provided evidence that long-term use of marijuana kicks off a complex process that allows neurons to adjust and compensate for smaller gray matter volume. But, all findings must be followed up with further research and studies in a more advanced way, they said.

The study is titled as 'Long-term effects of marijuana use on the brain'. The researchers involved in the study, include Francesca M. Filbey, Sina Aslan, Vince D. Calhoun, Jeffrey S. Spence, Eswar Damaraju, Arvind Caprihan and Judith Segall.

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