Even Casual Marijuana Use May Change Your Brain: Pot Smokers at Risk

Apr 16, 2014 07:46 AM EDT | By Staff Writer


Do you smoke marijuana? It turns out that even casual marijuana use may change your brain. Scientists have found that the size and shape of two brain regions involved in emotion and motivation may actually differ in young adults who smoke the substance at least once per week.

More and more states are legalizing marijuana for medical used. At the same time, though, teens use the drug recreationally. In fact, marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. It's estimated that about 18.9 million people reported recent use. Because of this, it's crucial to find out how the substance might affect people in the long term.

The main psychoactive component of marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Previous studies with animals have actually showed that repeated exposure to the drug causes structural changes in brain regions associated with motivation, attention, learning and memory. In order to find out a bit more, the scientists decided to take a look at how low exposures to marijuana might impact the brain.

The scientists used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to compare the brains of 18 to 25-year-olds who reported smoking marijuana at least once per week with the brains of those who had little or no history of marijuana use. In the end the scientists found that the nucleus accumbens, the part of the brain associated with reward processing, was larger and altered in its shape and structure in marijuana users.

"This study suggests that even light to moderate recreation marijuana use can cause changes in brain anatomy," said Carl Lupica, a scientist who studies drug addiction and who was not involved in the study, in a news release. "These observations are particularly interesting because previous studies have focused primarily on the brains of heavy marijuana smokers, and have largely ignored the brains of casual users."

The findings reveal that it's more important than ever to find out how marijuana can impact a person's brain. As the use of this drug spreads, it's crucial to find out what potential consequences are to using it.

The findings are published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

© 2018 Food World News. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


Get the Most Popular Food Stories in a Weekly Newsletter
Food Biz
The Gift of Food at Christmas: What’s most popular?

The Gift of Food at Christmas: What’s most popular?

Food is always an excellent gift choice at Christmas. But how do you select which edibles to give your loved ones? Well, help is at hand. Take a look at the following food gift ideas so you can decide who should receive them.

Modern Appliance Excellent Food Packing Machine Online

Modern Appliance Excellent Food Packing Machine Online

Are you interested to keep food fresh longer? Different types of tricks and techniques used to preserve food for a long time and to extend the shelf life of food. One of the best recommended food preserves is a vacuum sealer which meets all the requirements of interested people and a perfect appliance you surely need.


Top Wedding Food Trends For 2020

Tired of the conventional three-course meals at wedding receptions? Want something different? Give the menu a twist with our trendy wedding food ideas.

Food Tech
Night Markets in Asia

Night Markets in Asia

Traveling to new cities is always an exciting adventure. One of the best ways to see a city and try local food is by visiting famous night markets. Night markets are always bustling and full of locals and foreigners trying the delights.

All that you Need to Know about Weight Loss Process

All that you Need to Know about Weight Loss Process

Bearing an excess of weight feels awkward, and it can likewise harm your health. As per the research of the CDC, obesity rates have soared in the United States in recent years. As of 2019, more than 33% of American grownups were viewed as obese, characterized as having a BMI of 30 or higher.

The Rudiments of Excellent Steak Grilling

The Rudiments of Excellent Steak Grilling

Grilling a steak to perfection is both a science and an art and there are many ways for this small miracle to horribly wrong, especially without some perspective and experience. But, by understanding the following 10 principles of perfecting the grilled steak, you too can be on the way to steak mastery.

Real Time Analytics