Ever since I have know what marijuana was I have also known that the government has been trying to convince us that it is a bad evil drug.
And in my view, the government has mostly been feeding us lies on the subject.
I was actually show the movie "Reefer Madness" in high school to teach me the dangers of marijuana.
The research in these articles was funded by the
"National Institute on Drug Abuse"
"White House Office of National Drug Control Policy",
so I suspect they could care less about the facts and their only goal is to convince us that marijuana is bad, bad, bad. And that the folks at the DEA should keep their high paying jobs and continue arresting people for the victimless crime of smoking or selling marijuana.
The second article admits to what I consider a major flaw in the study - "Scientists asked them to estimate how much marijuana they smoked and how often they lit up over a three-month test period"
When you are doing scientific experiments you don't ask people to GUESS how much and how often they smoked marijuana. You ACCURATELY MEASURE how much and how often they smoked marijuana.
For that reason, and that reason alone I suspect the study was biased against marijuana use.
Casual pot use causes brain abnormalities in young: study
1:12 a.m. CDT, April 16, 2014
Young, casual marijuana smokers experience potentially harmful changes to their brains, with the drug altering regions of the mind related to motivation and emotion, researchers found.
The study to be published Wednesday in the Journal of Neuroscience differs from many other pot-related research projects that are focused on chronic, heavy users of cannabis.
The collaborative effort between Northwestern University's medical school, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School showed a direct correlation between the number of times users smoked and abnormalities in the brain.
"What we're seeing is changes in people who are 18 to 25 in core brain regions that you never, ever want to fool around with," said co-senior study author Dr. Hans Beiter, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University.
In particular, the study identified changes to the nucleus accumbens and the nucleus amygdala, regions of the brain that are key to regulating emotion and motivation, in marijuana users who smoke between one and seven joints a week.
The researchers found changes to the volume, shape and density of those brain regions. But more studies are needed to determine how those changes may have long-term consequences and whether they can be fixed with abstinence, Beiter said.
"Our hypothesis from this early work is that these changes may be an early sign of what later becomes amotivation, where people aren't focused on their goals," he said.
The study, which was funded in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, comes as access to pot is expanding following 2012 votes in Washington state and Colorado to legalize its recreational use. The drug remains illegal under federal law.
Medical pot is allowed in 20 U.S. states.
Pot legalization advocates make the argument that marijuana is safer than alcohol a central part of their campaigns.
Other research has found drinking alcohol alters the brain, Beiter said. But while researchers do not know exactly how the mental rewiring seen in pot users affects their lives, the study shows it physically changes the brain in ways that differ from drinking, he said.
This latest study fits with other research showing marijuana use has significant effects on young people because their brains are still developing, and Beiter said he has become convinced that marijuana should only be used by people under 30 if they need it to manage pain from a terminal illness.
Even casually smoking marijuana can change your brain, study says
By Terrence McCoy
April 16 at 3:11 am
The days when people thought only heavy Cheech-and-Chong pot smokers suffered cognitive consequences may be over. A study in The Journal of Neuroscience says even casual marijuana smokers showed significant abnormalities in two vital brain regions important in motivation and emotion.
“Some of these people only used marijuana to get high once or twice a week,” said co-author Hans Breiter, quoted in Northwestern University’s Science Newsline. Breiter hailed the study as the first to analyze the effects of light marijuana use. “People think a little recreational use shouldn’t cause a problem, if someone is doing OK with work or school,” he said. “Our data directly says this is not the case.”
“This study raises a strong challenge to the idea that casual marijuana use isn’t associated with bad consequences,” he added.
The study analyzed 20 pot smokers and 20 non-pot smokers between 18 and 25. Scientists asked them to estimate how much marijuana they smoked and how often they lit up over a three-month test period. Even those who smoked once a week showed brain abnormalities, while larger changes were seen in those who smoked more.
Marijuana is by far the most recognizable drug in the United States, with almost 19 million people reporting recent use, according to the National Survey on Drug Use. Cultural attitudes toward the drug are changing fast. What would have been inconceivable a generation ago — the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana — has happened in several states over the last several years. Nascent industries around the plant have sprouted in Colorado and Washington since they legalized the drug.
The study did not look at the behavior of the pot smokers, only their brains. What effect, if any, Wednesday’s findings will have on future legislation remains unclear.
The drug’s effect on the human brain, however, is substantially more clear, researchers say. In the study, scientists compared the size, shape and density of the nucleus accumbens and the amygdala, which control emotion. Those who had smoked had abnormally large nucleus accumbens, an area of the brain that controls pleasure, reward, and reinforcement learning.
In the brains of marijuana users, natural rewards are less satisfying.
“Drugs of abuse can cause more dopamine release than natural rewards like food, sex and social interaction,” said lead author Jodi Gilman. “In those you also get a burst of dopamine but not as much as in many drugs of abuse. That is why drugs take on so much salience, and everything else loses its importance.”