Though the belief in extreme cognitive consequences due to excess marijuana use may be behind us, a new study in The Journal of Neuroscience suggests that even casual pot smoking may contribute to significant marijuana effects including abnormalities in two vital regions of the brain specific to emotion and motivation.
“Some of these people only used marijuana to get high once or twice a week,” says Hans Breiter – the study’s co-author. “People think a little recreational use shouldn’t cause a problem, if someone is doing OK with work or school. Our data directly says this is not the case.”
Use And Treatment Of Marijuana Effects
The study analyzed 20 non-smokers and 20 smokers between the ages of 18 and 25. Researchers asked participants to estimate how much pot they smoked and how often they used over a three-month observation period. The results showed brain abnormalities in those who used marijuana only once per week, with additional marijuana effects and changes in those who used more.
Marijuana is easily the most commonly used and recognizable drug among patients at The Dunes East Hampton Intensive Outpatient Program and throughout the U.S. Acceptance of the drug is rising throughout the country, with the success of legalization and decriminalization efforts in several state over the past decade.
Holistic Drug And Alcohol Addiction Rehab
The study focused mainly on the brains of pot smokers – behavior took a back seat. The effect of these findings on future holistic drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs and legislation is currently unclear.
Marijuana’s effect on the brain, however, is rather transparent, researchers stated. In the study, scientists compared the density, shape and size of the amygdala, accumbens and nucleus – the control centers for emotion. Participants who had used marijuana had unusually large nucleus accumbens, the area responsible for pleasure control, reinforcement learning and reward.
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