Conventional wisdom, even the wisdom conventionally held by self-identifying stoners, is that weed kills brain cells. But, low and behold, a new study is confirming an old study that says weed doesn’t kill nothing except Doritos by the pound, and those dudes who said weed makes you stupid are just dumb burnouts.
The Journal of Neuroscience published earlier this year a study that MRI-scanned the brains of chronic cannabis users and straight edge squares alike (in groups of both adults and adolescents) to study if constant exposure to the dro caused damage to key areas of the brain including the amygdala, hippocampus and cerebellum.
The brainiacs involved with the research observed that “No statistically significant differences were found between daily users and nonusers on volume or shape in the regions of interest.” So, fellow dabaholics and weed-fiends, if your subcortical structure has been undermined, it isn’t from getting higher than fuck. It is just the result of something else that you should probably have addressed by a medical professional immediately.
Other reports on the brain-draining effects of ganj-puffing do contradict some of these study’s findings, but “this is your brain on drugs” logic is finding less and less credibility. As Salon recently reported, a study published by Northwestern University finding that cannabis can “cause brain abnormalities” was debunked almost immediately by computational biologist and UC-Berkeley professor Lori Patcher.
Patcher told The Huffington Post, “The paper is terrible on a number of levels. It reeks of dishonesty … Maybe users have strange brains because they smoked pot. But maybe they smoke pot because they have strange brains. There is an important difference here.”
As to whether cannabis use can actually improve mental health, that’s a much more contested topic, as evidenced by this pairing of contradicting medical papers on the effect of cannabis on clinical depression. One doctor says cannabis can alleviate the symptoms of depression while another says it can actually make them worse. But this is a pretty banal contradiction when you consider that frequently prescribed antidepressants like Wellbutrin and Prozac also sometimes cause depression symptoms to worsen. It’s safe to say that cannabis, just like prescribed pharmaceuticals, react differently to the unique brain chemistries of individuals.
So, you’re weed and wax isn’t making you dumb or depressed. It’s just making you lazy enough to sit on your couch and read this article while you should be out making your life and the world a better place, which is almost worse.
Image by Etsy-featured artist vantiani