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Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, but little is known about its effects on the human brain, particularly on reward/aversion regions implicated in addiction, such as the nucleus accumbens and amygdala. Animal studies show structural changes in brain regions such as the nucleus accumbens after exposure to Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, but less is known about cannabis use and brain morphometry in these regions in humans. We collected high-resolution MRI scans on young adult recreational marijuana users and nonusing controls and conducted three independent analyses of morphometry in these structures: (1) gray matter density using voxel-based morphometry, (2) volume (total brain and regional volumes), and (3) shape (surface morphometry). Gray matter density analyses revealed greater gray matter density in marijuana users than in control participants in the left nucleus accumbens extending to subcallosal cortex, hypothalamus, sublenticular extended amygdala, and left amygdala, even after controlling for age, sex, alcohol use, and cigarette smoking. Trend-level effects were observed for a volume increase in the left nucleus accumbens only. Significant shape differences were detected in the left nucleus accumbens and right amygdala. The left nucleus accumbens showed salient exposure-dependent alterations across all three measures and an altered multimodal relationship across measures in the marijuana group. These data suggest that marijuana exposure, even in young recreational users, is associated with exposure-dependent alterations of the neural matrix of core reward structures and is consistent with animal studies of changes in dendritic arborization.
originally posted by: NthOther
I don't think the (slightly) detrimental effects of cannabis use on child development is news. No one (that I know of) who advocates legalization thinks it's a good idea for kids to use it.
If the prohibitionists are simply worried about the potential of use by children and adolescents, well... how about the potential for alcohol abuse (one of the most dangerous substances known to man, sold on every street corner in America)? Their argument doesn't hold any water because the moral contradiction is glaring. But they've gotten away with it for so long that they're continuing to ignore the hypocrisy while more and more people are seeing it clearly.
It isn't working anymore. Grasping at straws, as another member noted, in an odd, arrogant desperation.