NORML reviews the top news stories of 2015.
Two new studies published online today in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Psychiatry provide little support for previous claims that cannabis exposure is significantly harmful to the developing brain.
It was less than a year ago when the mainstream media was chock-full of headlines like this one: ‘Brain changes associated with casual marijuana use in young adults, study finds.’
But a funny thing happened when a team of scientists from the University of Colorado and the University of Kentucky tried to replicate these results in a separate, larger sample (158 participants) of subjects after rigorously controlling for both groups’ use of alcohol. They couldn’t.
NORML’s Deputy Director today on Alternet.org addressed new media claims that cannabis use can potentially shrink the brain.
Investigators at the University College of London analyzed data from 2,612 subjects who had their IQ tested at the age of eight and again at age 15. They reported no relationship between cannabis use and lower IQ at age 15 when confounding factors such as alcohol use and cigarette use were taken into account.
Using high–resolution MRI imaging, scientists identified specific changes in particular regions of the brain that they inferred were likely due to marijuana exposure. Notably, however, these changes did not appear to be associated with any overt adverse effects in subjects’ actual cognition or behavior.
Recent preclinical studies published over the past weeks provide further evidence that cannabinoids are both neuroprotective and cardioprotective.
[Editor’s note: This post is excerpted from this week’s forthcoming NORML weekly media advisory. To…