Just take a deep breath!
In 2012, a research in the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) calculated that smoking just one joint daily for 20 years may be benign, though most participants just smoked two or three joints every month. "I was amazed we did not see consequences [of marijuana usage ]," said UCSF epidemiologist Mark Pletcher, who headed the analysis.
One evaluation of various epidemiological research points to modest sample size and inadequate study design as motives for scientists' inability to nail down a connection between cannabis and cancer hazard. However, some suspect that such a connection does not exist, which bud might even have cancer-preventive consequences. A 2008 study, by way of instance, indicated that smoking marijuana can lower the danger of tobacco-associated lung cancer, calculating that individuals who smoke both marijuana and tobacco have a lesser risk of cancer compared to those who smoke just tobacco (though still a greater threat compared to non-smokers).
But Pletcher is not sanguine about marijuana's effects on the lungs, also supposes there could continue to be long-term lung damage which could be tough to detect. "We actually can not guarantee ourselves about heavy usage," he clarified.
Your brain on drugs
There's some evidence to indicate that stoned subjects show greater risk-taking and diminished decision-making, and rating worse on memory tasks-and residual impairments are discovered times or weeks after use. Some studies also join years of frequent marijuana use to deficits in learning, memory, and concentration. A recent and widely discussed report on the IQs of New Zealanders followed since arrival discovered that cannabis users who had began their addiction in adolescence had lower IQs than non-users.
Within this study, headed by investigators at Duke University,"you can definitely see as a result of cannabis use, IQ goes down," said Derik Hermann, a clinical neuroscientist in the Central Institute of Mental Health in Germany that wasn't involved in the study.
However, not 4 months afterwards, a re-analysis and computer simulation in the Ragnar Frisch Center for Economic Research at Oslo conducted the Duke findings. Ole Rogeberg claimed that socioeconomic aspects, not marijuana usage, led to the reduced IQs found in cannabis users.
Rogeberg's conclusion counters a sizable literature, nevertheless, which supports a connection between marijuana use and neurophysiological reduction. Studies in both animals and humans indicate that individuals who obtaining a marijuana addiction in maternity confront long-term negative effects in brain function, together with a few users finding it hard to focus and learn new jobs.
Especially, most studies on the topic suggest that although there can be negative effects of smoking as a teenager, users that start in adulthood are usually unaffected. This could possibly be a result of endocannabinoid-directed reorganization of the mind through puberty, Hermann clarified. The consumption of cannabinoids that includes marijuana use might cause irreversible"deceiving of this neural growth," he explained.
Along with the consequences of intellect, many studies indicate that smoking marijuana increases the probability of schizophrenia, and might have similar effects on the brain. Hermann's team used MRI to discover cannabis-associated neuron damage in the pre-frontal cortex and discovered that it was like brain changes found in schizophrenia sufferers. Other studies further suggest that weed-smoking schizophrenics have higher disease-associated brain changes and also perform worse on cognitive tests compared to their counterparts that are senile.
But much of the study can not differentiate between brain changes caused by marijuana usage and symptoms related to the disease. "We have not seen a rise in schizophrenics, in spite of much more marijuana usage."
Along with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a neurotoxic cannabinoid that's in charge of marijuana's anti inflammatory properties, the medication also includes an assortment of non-psychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol (CBD), which may shield against neuron harm. Hermann revealed that the amount of the hippocampus-a brain region important for memory processing-is marginally smaller in cannabis consumers compared to in non-users, but more CBD-rich marijuana countered this result.
A fatal cocktail?
While information behind the damaging effects of marijuana in its own are feeble, some investigators are more concerned about the medication together with other compounds, like tobacco, alcohol, or cocaine. Some studies imply, by way of instance, that marijuana might increase cravings for different medications, resulting in its notorious tag as a"gateway drug." A study published earlier this month affirmed this concept as it discovered that, at least in rats, THC vulnerability raises tobacco's addictive consequences. What's more, marijuana might not blend well with prescription medications, as cannabis induces the liver to metabolize drugs more slowly, increasing the danger of drug toxicity.
Despite these issues, however, Lamarine believes it is unlikely the effects of cannabis use are dire, provided that the amount of research which has focused on the topic. "We are not going to wake up to the large discovery that marijuana induces significant brain damage," he explained. "We'd have noticed that by now"