Marijuana Users Have Abnormal Brain Structure
(Ivanhoe Newswire) –A Northwestern Medicine study has found that teens who were heavy marijuana users, smoking it daily for close to three years, had abnormal changes in their brain structures related to working memory and performed poorly on memory tasks.
Researchers observed the brain abnormalities and memory problems during the teens’ early twenties, two years after they quit smoking. Memory-related structures in their brains appeared to shrink and collapse inward, possibly revealing a decrease in neurons. Researchers also found that the marijuana-related brain abnormalities are associated with a poor working memory performance and look similar to schizophrenia-related brain abnormalities.
"The study links the chronic use of marijuana to these concerning brain abnormalities that appear to last for at least a few years after people stop using it," lead study author Matthew Smith, an assistant research professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, was quoted as saying. "With the movement to decriminalize marijuana, we need more research to understand its effect on the brain."
For more information, go to: http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2013/12/marijuana-users-have-abnormal-brain-structure--poor-memory.html
SOURCE: Schizophrenia Bulletin, December 2014
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