Newsflash: Smoking Weed Won’t Shrink Your Brain or Make You Crazy

Not only does smoking weed not make you fat, but it also won’t make your brain “shrink.”

Two recent studies highlight this fact by using scientific brain things like “magnetic resonance imaging” while another studied 1,500 teens with “high genetic risk of schizophrenia.” In both cases, while some differences in cannabis users’ brains came out, no “brain shrinkage” was seen:

The first showed specifically that:

When they looked at all 482 volunteers, it did seem that the marijuana users had some shrinkage in two brain regions called the amygdala and the right ventral striatum. But when they compared marijuana users to their siblings, the differences disappeared. So it’s possible that people who choose to use marijuana may already have the smaller regions.

Translation: weed brains aren’t tinier than normal brains. The other study showed:

The boys who admitted they used marijuana had thinner brain cortices, they found. The cortex is the folded outer layer of the brain that carries much of the brain’s gray matter.

“Our findings suggest that cannabis use might interfere with the maturation of the cerebral cortex in male adolescents at high risk for schizophrenia,” they wrote.

Again, it’s not completely clear what that might mean for the pot-smokers, the experts said. It doesn’t show that smoking dope raises the risk of schizophrenia, but it does support the idea that some people are more susceptible than other to damaging effects from marijuana. [NBC News]

Translation: weed won’t make you go crazy. If you’re susceptible to a disease like schizophrenia, weed could certainly facilitate that case. But it’s not the cause.

Another day, another reefer madness myth debunked.




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