The argument for medical or decriminalized marijuana centers largely around how “harmless” the drug is. Those in favor of using this drug for medical purposes or for making recreational use legal tout its benefits and downplay the dangers.
A new study on changes in the brain after smoking marijuana may be one of the early nails in their coffins.
This study from Northwestern University, just published in The Journal of Neuroscience, reports that just smoking marijuana casually – say, fewer than four times a week – makes changes to the parts of the brain involved with emotion and motivation and some types of mental illness. As one of the researchers stated, “This is a part of the brain you do not want to mess around with.”
According to a USA Today report on this study, “The more marijuana the students [in the study] smoked, the more their brains differed from the non-users.”
There have previously been studies showing that one’s IQ is lowered by marijuana use and that it does not come back up after marijuana abuse ceases. There’s any quantity of research that indicates that there are distinct health risks associated with abuse of marijuana, especially use of the potent weed on the market today. Arguably the most shocking and dreadful of these risks is an increased chance of a birth defect called anencephaly – which means that a baby is born without a brain or with only part of it. It’s normally fatal in minutes.
And then there are the marijuana-related deaths that are showing up. There were two marijuana deaths in Germany and a woman who died of cardiac problems with no other apparent cause than her marijuana use. Another marijuana death resulted from an exchange student from Africa who panicked and jumped off a fourth-floor balcony in Denver after he ate marijuana-laced cookies.
It all sounds nice to give people something that makes them more comfortable and certainly I don’t have a problem with pain relief for someone who’s suffering. But I think it is clear that the media coverage on the problems that can result from marijuana use has been lopsided – there’s only been reporting on why we should permit marijuana use, not an analytical look at the whole picture.
With these problems surfacing, it looks like we are getting a look at the effects of these changes in laws. It’s just sad that people have to be harmed or even die before these facts come out.
As I said, maybe when all the facts are gathered, the pro-marijuana advocates may not find themselves in the comfortable position they thought they were in. Things might be a little different for them. But frankly, I’m in favor of any changes that protect our children from drug abuse and keep people from becoming addicted. Whatever that takes, I’m in.
The report can be found here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/04/15/marijuana-brain-changes/7749309/?sf25061587=1