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Casual Marijuana Use May Damage Your Brain

*MISINFORMATION ALERT*

It looks like the pharmaceutical and private prison lobbies are getting scared that cannabis is cutting into their billions of dollars of profits because someone is propagating an inconclusive study as a negative for cannabis use.  There is a link to the article below.

Before reading anymore, the ‘study’ DID NOT show that marijuana causes any brain damage.

“The results of this study indicate that in young, recreational marijuana users, structural abnormalities in gray matter density, volume, and shape of the nucleus accumbens and amygdala can be observed.”  (quoted from study)

This ‘study’ is a beautiful example of spinning facts.  Time to get a lesson in propaganda.

The Massachusetts General Center for Addiction Medicine created a study trying to prove that even occasional marijuana use causes brain damage.  The study used a massive sample size of 40 people between the ages of 18 and 25.  20 used marijuana at least once a week and 20 did not use marijuana at all.

After 90 days, all participants were given high-resolution MRIs to see differences between marijuana users and non-users brains.  The MRIs showed that marijuana users’ brains were different from non-users’ brains.

“I think the findings that there are observable differences in brain structure with marijuana even in these young adult recreational users indicate that there are significant effects of marijuana on the brain,” says Dr. Jodi Gilman, lead author and a researcher in the Massachusetts General Center for Addiction Medicine. “Those differences were exposure-dependent, meaning those who used more marijuana had greater abnormalities.”

Results of the new study match those of animal studies, authors say, showing that when rats are given tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC – the ingredient in marijuana the gets you high – their brains rewire and new connections are formed.

Now I’m going to destroy this feeble attempt at making cannabis look harmful by unspinning the spin.

Note the study did not prove that cannabis causes brain damage, only changes in gray matter density, volume, and shape.  This article doesn’t tell you that marijuana users had higher grey matter density than non-users.  Grey matter includes regions of the brain involved in muscle control,and sensory perception such as seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision-making, and self-control.

If you read this article like a doctor or scientist that does not get paid by a rehab or addiction medicine facility, you could postulate that increasing the density of the brain’s grey matter is a positive because it allows for more brain development.

Having a low density of grey matter in the brain is associated with memory-loss in the elderly, bipolar, and other psychiatric disorders.  So thank you Massachusetts General Center for Addiction Medicine, but I’ll stick with higher grey matter density and continue to nurture and feed my brain.

The most beautifully framed misinformation is the citation to previous animal studies that showed “that when rats are given tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC – the ingredient in marijuana the gets you high – their brains rewire and new connections are formed.”

This is true in both rats and humans.

Here are others activities that cause your brain to rewire new connections:

  • Learning a new language
  • Making a friend
  • Falling in love
  • Discovering you like a new type of food
  • Eating chocolate
  • Moving to a nicer house
  • Having a child
  • Going on vacation in a new country
  • Getting a promotion at work

Anytime you learn something new or experience a new feeling, your brain makes a new connection.  This is called “learning.”  Because cannabis has neurotransmitters and neuroprotectants, it increases your brain’s ability to process information and learn.

So when this article says that marijuana use causes the brain to “rewire new connections”, it is true.  However, it is a positive effect, not a negative one.

I’d like to compliment the researchers who conducted this study for their brazen effort of spinning inconclusive evidence from a sample size smaller than a college class into “proof that marijuana causes brain damage.”

I guess if your pay is dependent upon ‘addicts’, it is more profitable to broaden the definition of addiction.  I’m addicted to water, oxygen, sunlight, and the truth.  I’ll see y’all in rehab 😉

http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2014/04/16/casual-marijuana-use-may-damage-your-brain/

By: , founder and ceo of Halcyon Organics.

Remember that if we didn’t have marijuana users, we wouldn’t have Apple, Microsoft, CNN, Virgin Records, most music or art.

© 2014 Halcyon Organics

Originially published Apr 16, 2014 @ 13:05

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