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Does cannabis harm your brain?

PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2015 5:08 pm
by gray_marian
Study shows white matter damage may be caused by 'skunk-like' cannabis

Posted on 27/11/2015 corpus_callosum_puff
The corpus callosum
Smoking high potency ‘skunk-like’ cannabis can damage a crucial part of the brain responsible for communication between the two brain hemispheres, according to a new study by scientists from King’s College London and Sapienza University of Rome.
Researchers have known for some time that long-term cannabis use increases the risk of psychosis, and recent evidence suggests that alterations in brain function and structure may be responsible for this greater vulnerability. However, this new research, published today in Psychological Medicine, is the first to examine the effect of cannabis potency on brain structure.
Exploring the impact of cannabis potency is particularly important since today’s high potency ‘skunk-like’products have been shown to contain higher proportions of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) than they did around a decade ago. In experimental studies THC has been shown to induce psychotic symptoms and ‘skunk-like’ products high in THC are now thought to be the most commonly used form of cannabis in the UK.
Dr Paola Dazzan, Reader in Neurobiology of Psychosis from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London, and senior researcher on the study, said: ‘We found that frequent use of high potency cannabis significantly affects the structure of white matter fibres in the brain, whether you have psychosis or not.
‘This reflects a sliding scale where the more cannabis you smoke and the higher the potency, the worse the damage will be.’
Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technique, was used to examine white matter in the brains of 56 patients who had reported a first episode of psychosis at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM), as well as 43 healthy participants from the local community.
The researchers specifically examined the corpus callosum, the largest white matter structure in the brain, which is responsible for communication between the left and right hemispheres. White matter consists of large bundles of nerve cell projections (called axons), which connect different regions of the brain, enabling communication between them.
The corpus callosum is particularly rich in cannabinoid receptors, on which the THC content of cannabis acts.
The study found that frequent use of high potency cannabis was linked to significantly higher mean-diffusivity (MD), a marker of damage in white matter structure.
Dr Tiago Reis Marques, a senior research fellow from the IoPPN at King’s College London, said: ‘This white matter damage was significantly greater among heavy users of high potency cannabis than in occasional or low potency users, and was also independent of the presence of a psychotic disorder.’
Dr Dazzan added: ‘There is an urgent need to educate health professionals, the public and policymakers about the risks involved with cannabis use.
‘As we have suggested previously, when assessing cannabis use it is extremely important to gather information on how often and what type of cannabis is being used. These details can help quantify the risk of mental health problems and increase awareness on the type of damage these substances can do to the brain.’
This research was funded primarily by the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at the South London and Maudsley (SLaM) NHS Foundation Trust and King's College London.
The study was led by Dr Tiago Reis Marques and Dr Paola Dazzan of the IoPPN at King’s, and Dr Silvia Rigucci of Sapienza University of Rome.

From The Lancet earlier this year:You will have to google as does not transfer here either

Re: Does cannabis harm your brain?

PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2015 6:55 am
by Iain
I have a friend here in Belgium who, for years, suffers from an incurable illness and tells us that during the week, on multiple occasions, he'll find himself in a large cupboard in order to holler with pain. (being the only place where nobody can hear him outside the house)
He is on high-dose morphine every day to such an extent, we believe he's now addicted to it.

Just recently, he discovered that it's only cannabis that provides him with less pain and he's now reducing the morphine dose. (pills..., not smoking)

Re: Does cannabis harm your brain?

PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 1:17 am
by gray_marian
Posed the same question on another forum in Europe Iain and the general consensus appeared that it was only me not participating, never felt the need myself, [my life being exciting enough!] The following is an excerpt from one of the members

'smoked cannabis for more than 20 years and I think you Marian will agree it has not messed up my head.
Most people who smoke it are abusing the drug. During my time it was smoked by like minded people, mostly friends. Alcohol and cannabis are a definite NO and I would never pass a joint to anyone on alcohol, or speed, or downers, or coke etc.Now here is a very important one and many friends in ------- were surprised when I told them I am totally against legalisation of Cannabis. If a person who is feeling anxious or paranoid takes cannabis they can, and most likely will, deepen these feelings and require psychiatric treatment. Hence my NO NO NO'

This particular chap is in his seventies, recovering at present from cancer treatment. The majority of the members [age group 35 upwards] were all taking much stronger drugs. None of them seemed phased by the health report. For medicinal purposes each to their own.

Re: Does cannabis harm your brain?

PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 8:36 am
My pal has been smoking cannabis for years as a relief from his rheumatoid arthritis.He says that it works far better than any meds.

Re: Does cannabis harm your brain?

PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 11:37 am
by gray_marian
The following was another response to my friends post above.

'you are quite correct ...... I've admitted patients ....... sectioned under the Mental Health Act ...... who have
previously had mental health problems ...... used cannabis as a panacea ...... only to end up in a psychiatric unit'

These are the folk who concern me Roger, mainly a younger generation to us. Have some friends in Canada who are still bailing out their 50yr old son who has been taking it since his teens. A life unfulfilled due to weakness. Canadian laws appear to be way more relaxed than UK....

Re: Does cannabis harm your brain?

PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 4:08 pm
by gray_marian
Have never contemplated trying/using cannabis, the thought has never ever entered my head. Quite content with a glass of wine needed or not. :) The reason I posted, was due to some of the stories heard about those who have suffered consequences through taking it. Fully understand those who are in great discomfort like Iain and Roger's friends. That must be horrendous.

Re: Does cannabis harm your brain?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 9:28 am
by Nancyt79
I was a smoker in my younger days for quite a few years and I must admit it has affected my short-term memory a little bit. I wouldn't change a thing though. I found smoking it kept me away from boozing and me and my friends would have nice chats about just about anything, breaking everything down and giving our views. I think personally it gave me better perspective. I've seen the other side of it though. The stronger weeds these days, whilst can be helpful for things like arthritis, if abused and used in the wrong way, can seriously take their toll. It can definitely affect your priorities if you just sit around smoking it constantly day and night. I think moderation is probably the key and for those who have it as medication, it should just simply be used in controlled amounts.

Re: Does cannabis harm your brain?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 3:28 am
by gray_marian
Thank you for your response Nancyt79 :)