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The brains of marijuana users are different, especially if they start young

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posted on Nov, 11 2014 @ 07:37 AM
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The brains of marijuana users are different, especially if they start young

A recent study conducted at the Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas in Dallas looked at brain makeup in marijuana users. It found that there is a chance that marijuana use alters the reward center of your brain. Now keep in mind Washington Post likes to propagate the Reefer Madness propaganda and it is evident in this article, so let me help break it down for you. We start off with this:


Researchers at the Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas in Dallas sought to clear up some of the confusion with a study that looked at a relatively large group of marijuana users and evaluated their brains for a slew of different indicators.

What they found was complex, but the pattern was clear: The brains of marijuana users were different than those of non-marijuana users. The area of the brain responsible for establishing the reward system that helps us survive and also keeps us motivated was smaller in users than in non-marijuana users. But there was also evidence that the brain compensated for this loss of volume by increasing connectivity and the structural integrity of the brain tissue.


Now this looks bad initially, but you'll notice, tacked onto the end of the second paragraph is a note about increased connectivity of brain tissue. Of course, the article goes on a bit before mentioning that again (which is key here and I'll come back to this point later). The article goes on to describe the makeup of the study.


The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, used MRI scans to look at the brains of 62 non-marijuana users and 48 regular marijuana users, 27 of whom used marijuana but not other drugs. The marijuana users reported ingesting the drug about three times a day -- very heavy use -- and had used it for an average of about 10 years.

Looking first at atypically heavy marijuana use is necessary to identify structural effects, if there are any, Filbey said. Subsequent research would look at varying levels of use to find out if differences compared to non-users are still observed. For example, in Colorado, only about 22 percent of marijuana users reported using the drug about once a day at most.

Relative to other studies, this one had a fairly large sample size; it also excluded participants who had symptoms of psychosis, brain injury or neurological disorders in order to reduce the likelihood that the tests would pick up on other confounding factors. And it looked at three brain characteristics: the volume of the orbitofrontal cortex, how connected that part of the brain was to other areas, and the structural integrity of the white matter.


Here's the results:


"We found that while the orbitofrontal cortex was smaller, there was greater functional and structural connectivity," said Filbey. "The white matter seemed to have greater integrity than the [non-marijuana using group]. And the connection between the orbitofrontal cortex and other areas were stronger."

That's potentially positive news suggesting that whatever impact marijuana use might have on the size or volume of that part of the brain, it may be offset by better connectivity and structural soundness. "It suggests that there is definitely a more complicated pattern that the brain seems to be able to compensate for any kind of loss in order to keep that network maintained," Filbey said.


The article goes on to mention that with prolonged use, this connectivity decreases over time, BUT this should also be noted (which is conveniently buried at the bottom of the article):


There is no proven connection between the structural characteristics of this area in the brain and certain behaviors in humans. And it is possible that the small orbitofrontal cortex observed in marijuana users predated their marijuana use. A 2012 study found that smaller orbital frontal cortex volume at 12 years of age appeared to predict the initiation of marijuana use later in life.


As you can see, the brain may be affected by marijuana use, but it appears to compensate for this by changing the connectivity rate of the white matter in the brain. Maybe this explains why marijuana users report increased love of the arts and are able to solve problems differently than non-users. Food for thought there. Of course the article didn't mention that or explore that possibility.

Also as you can see, even though it was carefully hidden at the bottom of the article (where people are least likely to read it), people with smaller reward centers may just seek out marijuana for whatever reason.




posted on Nov, 11 2014 @ 07:42 AM
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Whoa whoa! This article has to be propaganda. Marijuana is supposedly completely harmless and does more good than harm, cures cancer, makes people smarter, improves life in every way..etc?

/sarcasm


+12 more 
posted on Nov, 11 2014 @ 07:45 AM
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a reply to: Calalini

Washington Post has a history of posting anti-marijuana propaganda, jumping on studies like this whenever they are published and spinning them as above.

I personally, wish the article would have explored the increased white matter connectivity that the study showed more, but instead WP decided to downplay it instead.


+31 more 
posted on Nov, 11 2014 @ 07:50 AM
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Sounds like Marijuana use defrags the mind, just like on a PC when you defrag, helps it run faster.


+4 more 
posted on Nov, 11 2014 @ 07:50 AM
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You are doing a good job keeping this subject on the front page.
Keep the momentum going!
In the end it looks somewhat like a positive affect.
Tax it, fire all the people trying to control it.



posted on Nov, 11 2014 @ 07:51 AM
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a reply to: proob4

Lol nice. I like that analogy.




posted on Nov, 11 2014 @ 07:51 AM
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originally posted by: Krazysh0t
a reply to: Calalini

Washington Post has a history of posting anti-marijuana propaganda, jumping on studies like this whenever they are published and spinning them as above.

I personally, wish the article would have explored the increased white matter connectivity that the study showed more, but instead WP decided to downplay it instead.


It's like they don't want to explore that finding in case it's proven to be beneficial in anyway.

Instead, concentrate on the negatives, slowly introduce a positive fact and then at the end state that if you have a small reward area, then go smoke marijuana, you're bound to feel compelled anyway.



posted on Nov, 11 2014 @ 07:52 AM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

It wouldn't matter where the article was posted or who ran the study. It would automatically be relegated to propaganda and wouldn't be taken seriously whatsoever. You can take that to the bank. Already the spin is on in this very thread. "Well, this can't be true. What it actually means is that marijuana is (wonderful in some way)."

Again, if it's so wonderful, give it to your children.


edit on 11-11-2014 by Calalini because: (no reason given)


+12 more 
posted on Nov, 11 2014 @ 07:55 AM
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Ok, let us look at this study and change the drug to alcohol.

So those people who drank much more than society would recommend, ended up with signs in the brain that they were over using alcohol. No kidding, they also have beer guts and liver problems.

The bit that gets me about the report is the silly line,




Looking first at atypically heavy marijuana use is necessary to identify structural effects, if there are any, Filbey said.


That is crap! If you look at normal users, then you get results for normal uses. If you look at any abusers, of any drugs, then you get what happens to abusers of drugs.

You can't say, this happens to those that abuse the drug and therefore those that use it moderately will be similarly affected. This is just deceitful science with an agenda. They will claim they never said it, but by inference they did and this is just a pack of lies.

I hate this. Someone wanted this study done and paid for it. They got the results they paid to get. It is all to misinform the public, the voting public at that.

Paid for science at its fraudulent best. Reminds me of the science paid for by the tobacco industry.

P


+17 more 
posted on Nov, 11 2014 @ 07:57 AM
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originally posted by: Calalini
a reply to: Krazysh0t

It wouldn't matter where the article was posted or who ran the study. It would automatically be relegated to propaganda and wouldn't be taken seriously whatsoever. You can take that to the bank. Already the spin is on in this very thread. "Well, this can't be true. What it actually means is that marijuana is (wonderful in some way)."

Again, if it's so wonderful, give it to your children.



I drink alcohol, and there is no way I would give it to children. A child's body can't handle it.

I think you may want to look inward to find the propaganda merchant.

P



posted on Nov, 11 2014 @ 07:58 AM
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originally posted by: Krazysh0t
a reply to: Calalini

Washington Post has a history of posting anti-marijuana propaganda, jumping on studies like this whenever they are published and spinning them as above.

I personally, wish the article would have explored the increased white matter connectivity that the study showed more, but instead WP decided to downplay it instead.


Well Somebody needs to let the post know that it is legal there, so move on to some other nonsense.


+11 more 
posted on Nov, 11 2014 @ 08:00 AM
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a reply to: Calalini

I don't have any children. If you look at my posting history about marijuana, I have NEVER said that marijuana was harmless. I have always stated that it has some drawbacks. I agree with having 21 year old age minimums when it is legalized too.

The better question is, if you think that marijuana is so bad for you, what do you think about alcohol and tobacco?



posted on Nov, 11 2014 @ 08:01 AM
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a reply to: pheonix358

I think you don't know me and should just stick to the post and it's content. The wise will consider both sides of the issue, and make note of the absolute fact that little is known about the brain, the mind, and marijuana and it's effects on both. Until we know more, we know very little. That's being intellectually honest about the subject.



posted on Nov, 11 2014 @ 08:02 AM
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Also important to point out is that the study was funded in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Referring to the project, Mason Tvert, Director of Communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, said marijuana use does not cause IQ loss.


"Once again, researchers have failed to find any conclusive evidence that marijuana use causes mental health problems. The researchers note their findings are nonconclusive, that they might be skewed by other factors, and that effects, if any, could be temporary, Tvert said. "The study doesn't justify keeping marijuana illegal, nor does it say anything about making it legal. There remains no doubt that marijuana is far less harmful than alcohol to the brain and to the rest of the body. The possibility that marijuana might have some harm for some people -- but might not -- is not a good reason to keep arresting and punishing hundreds of thousands of adults simply for using it."


And seriously, 3 times a day for ten years? It's probably the related consumption of junk food that caused any noted brain changes.


edit on 11-11-2014 by jtma508 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 11 2014 @ 08:03 AM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

I think alcohol and tobacco can be bad, if not worse in many cases. I'm glad you are critical. People should be very skeptical of the old "Marijuana is completely harmless" rhetoric that is making the rounds these days.


+3 more 
posted on Nov, 11 2014 @ 08:05 AM
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a reply to: Calalini

It's just the backlash from all the "Pot is the devil!" propaganda that we had in the 80's. When you push too hard in one direction, you will get equal backlash in the opposite direction. It would be nice if policy makers would wise up to that.



posted on Nov, 11 2014 @ 08:05 AM
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a reply to: jtma508

If the study was making claims about the benefits of marijuana, hardly any one would care to see who conducted the study and who paid for it. That's the sad thing in this debate. It sure would earn a lot of flags though.



posted on Nov, 11 2014 @ 08:08 AM
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The main point, as I see it, is 'especially if they start young'. Children, or even teens, should never drink, smoke (anything), or become heavy caffeine or sugar users. They all will change the brain. But if a drug is legal and non-agedpreferenced, the pushers (i.e. corporations) will try to get all the kids hooked on as much sugar and caffeine that the can (I'd include meat eating in this category). Lots of things can go wrong with all of these, and maybe marijuana is the least harmful of the "Big Six".
edit on 11-11-2014 by Aleister because: (no reason given)


+1 more 
posted on Nov, 11 2014 @ 08:09 AM
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originally posted by: Krazysh0t
a reply to: Calalini

It's just the backlash from all the "Pot is the devil!" propaganda that we had in the 80's. When you push too hard in one direction, you will get equal backlash in the opposite direction. It would be nice if policy makers would wise up to that.


Oh. How I miss those commercials of an egg in a frying pan.

"This is your brain on drugs" they'd say.

Hell yeah. I'm hungry and this egg sandwich is gonna be money!!!



posted on Nov, 11 2014 @ 08:21 AM
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I was just listening to Coast to Coast, which said, they had a study that was conducted and found that marijuana users brains were smaller, I think what they meant to say was that marijuana users parts of the brain may be smaller, not the actual brain. Spin the info most definetly. No one really knows, because everyone that is tested in these studies have all had a different life, with different amounts used, and for all we know, it has nothing to with marijuana, and more to do with say, how much a person uses a cell phone slammed up to there ear. What is known is that Marijuana is FAR less dangerous than many legal things such as Alcohol, Tobacco, Pharmaceutical drugs, etc.....



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