NORML Responds To Latest ‘Pot Shrinks The Brain’ Fears

NORML’s Deputy Director today on Alternet.org addressed new media claims that cannabis use can potentially shrink the brain:

[excerpt] A new study identifying minor differences in the brain imaging of habitual marijuana consumers compared to non-users may be ideal for stimulating sensational headlines (e.g., “Regular pot smokers have shrunken brains, study says,” Los Angeles Times, November 10), but tells us little in regard to whether pot poses actual health risks.

Specifically, an MRI scan revealed less gray matter in the orbital frontal cortex of pot-smoking subjects compared to those who had never used the drug. Researchers also identified increased connectivity between certain regions of the brain in regular marijuana users compared with non-users.

So precisely what do these findings tell us in regard to pot use and health? Not much. Since the study design is not longitudinal, investigators cannot determine whether these differences are caused by subject’s cannabis use, whether these differences existed prior to subjects’ ever trying cannabis, or whether these differences persist when users’ cannabis consumption ceases.

Most importantly, investigators in this study failed to determine whether any of these differences are positively associated with any measurable adverse performance outcomes, such as cognitive performance or quality of life. It may be that these cannabis users are functioning in their daily lives in a manner that is indistinguishable from controls, in which case the imaging differences may hold little if any real-world significance. (In fact, one of the paper’s authors acknowledged, “[C]hronic users appear to be doing fine.”)

Full text of NORML’s response, “Media Leaping to Extremely Faulty Conclusions from Study on the Effects of Marijuana on the Brain,” appears online here.

81 thoughts

  1. I wonder how many people they had to test to get this one or did they really? I don’t understand why we are having to fight a law that was based on lies. Our politions who are honest should (without) delay Strike it from the books. Just like they would do at the supreme court. For that matter why couldn’t the Supreme court knowing this also
    declare the law illegal and have it removed.
    For anybody that might have a loss of a job send them to our borders.

  2. Many American brains appear to have been pre-shrunk by using “electronic heroin” via the electronic devices permanently affixed to their increasingly gullible brains.

    Cannabis consumption increases awareness…precisely the reason it remains “dangerous”?

  3. Maybe our brains are supposed to be smaller and work better maybe most people’s brains are enlarged because all the crap they put into our food and medicine. If this is the case then maybe the people who smoke marijuana are the ones with the healthy brains. It did say marijuana user’s had better connectivity.

  4. This weed is definitely a contender for this year’s Cannabis Cup. It has all of the WOW factors needed to stand out against a large selection of top dope. Check out Boerenjongens and see for yourself! get some at five one three two three three seven two zero seven

  5. The autopsy results of the brains of people afflicted with the disease of addiction, who become addicted to alcohol, generally show massive brain damage /shrinkage…so …let’s prohibit the sale of alcohol?…You say that did not and can not stop the production/consumption of alcohol…but cannabis prohibition will?

    I’m trying to remember Einstein’s definition of insanity.

  6. Boycott this “SONMARK” outfit unless they show respect for honorable Cannabis, stop using filthy vulgar smearword “dope”. “Dope” is short for “Dobacco, Opiated”.

  7. Eric, it really scares me how people are so very willing to follow and support “leaders” that are borderline insane. The court jesters have taken over Drug Policy, or it seems to me.

  8. Eric, it really scares me how people are so very willing to follow and support “leaders” that are borderline insane.

    The court jesters have taken over Drug Policy, or it seems to me. – Dave Evans

    Me too…and me too!…the only word I disagree with is “borderline”!

    Only to make a clinical point, insanity is a legal word…the people to whom you refer appear to be malignant narcissists.

    Everyone should be afraid!

  9. I’ll have a hit of whatever Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking was using to shrink their brains.

    Junk science.

  10. Yeah, and I do believe “malignant narcissists” are not able to use good judgment. They employ a series of behaviors that manipulate people. The problem I have with this is I see it worthless manipulation, they see it their reason for being alive. “malignant narcissists” can not write laws that makes sense. They cannot focus for long enough or understand the implications. Do we have laws that make sense? No. But we are neck deep in assholes.

    I have a great idea, lets vote for some more “malignancies”.

  11. … But we are neck deep in assholes.
    I have a great idea, lets vote for some more “malignancies”. – Dave Evans

    Yes !…Voting for more malignant “politicians” will speed up our rapidly snowballing demise.

  12. Maybe shinking that part of the brain is a good thing. It is the same part of the brain that used to be surgically removed (lobotomy) in persons who had violent tendencies. Perhaps this is why cannabis users tend to be less violent than others.

  13. @jensequitar

    I read your very informative and scholarly article regarding this obviously biased/flawed study.

    I hope anyone attempting to understand this “neo-reefer madness” hoax reads your science based remarks revealing the flawed method and false conclusions claimed in this “scientific study”.

  14. Back when I started smoking pot (60’s and still hitting it) they told us our children would be born with two heads and other nonsense so….. – P.C.

    That part was really true, Phil!…both of my heads agree!

  15. Matthew, could be. But I really don’t believe marijuana lobotomizes people. If that were the case, I would say people should not take it.

    What marijuana does do is it allows the brain to rewire itself faster than otherwise possible. So in this way, you can use marijuana to help you be better at something. Even if that something is being a drug addict or some other kind of loser. Marijuana doesn’t magically cause someone to be a loser, but it can help them be a better loser if that is what they want to do.

    But of course this go the other way too. If you are working on being an outgoing, creative, responsible, “winning type” person marijuana will help you achieve that too.

  16. The amazing abilities of plants to help maintain or help a person reach a goal and or solution from a problem…could be an illness or clarity from a troubling moment in life. What’s amazing is how cannabis is one of the few substances that can help a person open pathways into the brain and actually use one’s brain beyond theories of so called science and opression under the rules of federal law. Not governed by the rule of addiction aka slavery neither by need to or not to. Be if one takes to the occasion or if one is not well knowing you can reach for a door that leads to a solution. Cannabis is one of the plants left to the care of man and the natural right to man and not law nor traditions of men.

  17. Maybe it isn’t the cannabis that cause the brain damage,maybe it’s all the pesticides and molds that people may encounter from the use of unregulated and tested marijuana.

    How can they come to an honest conclusion without testing every joint that the person had smoked before,during and after the test?

  18. @two toke,

    Maybe the contaminants are sometimes a factor, but when you speak of “every Joint that a person had smoked” YOU ARE SPEAKING OF CONTAMINANT-IN=CHIEF CARBON MONOXIDE, heat shock and 4221 combustion toxins which can be avoided by replacing Joints with

    (a) vaporizing, or

    (b) using a $1.29 flexdrawtube single toke utensil and holding the light far enough below the opening to DELAY combustion until your 25-mg loading (on the screen) has been bathed in 385F/195C heat long enough (19 seconds?) to exvaporize the Vitamins.

  19. After 30 years of pain meds and strees mg meds I was still in pain in 2012 I discovered I Was illergic to most med and the pain meds only made my pain worse. Thoughts of just take them all at once and just saved them of along time. I couldn’t think and anger was always the solution Well started replacing Meds with Mj. Wow in one year learned to use the computer my I phone and to paint which picts are all selling 100. -500. Cant believe how much I have learned an accomplished in 2 years. and the Big thing is I don’t have pain Mj takes my anxiety away caused from ADHD. I can sleep now .I am 67 and off hydrocodone,Zanax , and doz. of others. Lost 30 lbs of fat from not being able to walk. and depression is gone .No longer want to die. So Texas change the laws.

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