A recent study suggests that marijuana use alters the brain at a cellular level in adolescents. This suggests that the brain is particularly susceptible to drug abuse during the early years of development. According to Dr. Staci Gruber, director of the Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscience Program at the University of Vermont in Burlington, this region of the brain is involved in decision-making, planning, and personality.
The study also discovered that long-term marijuana use alters a process known as synaptic pruning. This process involves the brain pruning little-used neurons in the frontal cortex. The remaining neurons are protected by myelin sheaths. This process reduces the number of neuronal connections and increases the strength of communication between them. However, the effects are not immediately apparent.
The study showed that the main psychoactive component in marijuana (THC) affects the brain’s executive functions. These are the abilities to make decisions, organize information, solve problems, and control emotions. Researchers noted that THC is fat-soluble, and therefore may be stored in fat for months before it is released into the bloodstream. More studies are needed to determine the long-term effect of long-term marijuana use on the brain.
A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found a consistent relationship between marijuana use and verbal memory. While there are other variables that affect verbal memory, past use of marijuana decreased verbal memory scores. And in addition to this, pot smokers had a lower IQ than non-smokers. However, the study does not prove that marijuana use directly causes lower IQ, but it adds to the growing evidence that long-term marijuana use has a detrimental effect on the brain.
The results of the study could settle the debate on the long-term effects of marijuana on cognition. The study’s authors say that meaningful results will be seen once the subjects reach their mid-teenage years. These results may help in the design of clinical treatments for marijuana users. So far, the study has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, and the next step is to find out whether marijuana has any effect on brain development.
The researchers also report that the brain structure of a heavy marijuana user can change. The study’s authors looked at the brain changes in youth who smoked marijuana before and after reaching their late teens. The early-onset group made twice as many mistakes on tests measuring abstract thinking and planning. In addition, they smoked 15 grams of marijuana a week, while the late-onset group smoked just six grams per week.
One study compared MRI-based brain scans of people who had smoked marijuana and those who did not. Those who smoked marijuana had smaller orbitofrontal cortex regions, which are critical for processing emotions and decision-making. Interestingly, heavy marijuana users had more cross-brain connections than non-smokers. Those changes may be pre-existing differences that make certain people more likely to smoke marijuana.
The researchers found that a single THC injection of THC in mice did not change GABA neurons in these mice. Further, chronic marijuana users had abnormally long-drawn-out rewards that led to addiction. And this was mirrored in other studies. So, the conclusion is that the longer a person uses marijuana, the more likely they are to develop a severe psychiatric condition.
The researchers say that marijuana use does affect IQ. While the study is still in its infancy, these findings are consistent with previous studies. While marijuana users did have lower auto seeds gorilla glue IQ scores than non-users, their scores did not decrease as much. And they did not exhibit any cognitive decline. This is because of a plethora of environmental and inherited factors.
While the functional effects of marijuana have been well-documented, structural changes have been less consistent. While there have been studies of marijuana users’ brain volume, others show that the volume of gray matter increased. IQ is also an important covariate in these studies. The researchers then performed parametric regression models to examine the relationship between gray matter volume, structural connectivity, and white matter integrity.
Although the findings are inconsistent, the study has identified some similarities between chronic marijuana users and nonusers. It also shows that marijuana use affects IQ, especially in teenagers. Marijuana also affects brain chemistry marijuana blog in teenagers, making them more susceptible to its effects. However, it is unclear whether marijuana is directly linked to these negative effects. This study will provide additional insight into the effects of marijuana on the brain.