With all the talk about daily marijuana usage, it is no wonder we are all confused. Is it detrimental to our mental health, or is it no different, even possibly healthier, than cigarettes?

There are so many questions still left unanswered, but new tests give reason to believe that marijuana doesn’t really affect the brain like we thought it did. At least there is some room for doubt.

Previous tests suggested that certain areas of the brain showed a marked difference in size and volume due to regular marijuana use. It wasn’t clear as to what caused these effects, and this in itself left us scratching our heads.

Why test?

Since legalization is happening, it is important to understand the safety of this substance. Marijuana is used for many things at present and could be just as harmless as cigarettes or soda – well, you get the picture. Even alcohol, it seems, has a greater impact on the brain, according to the various tests and trials. Alcohol greatly changes the brain while intoxicated, but that’s another topic altogether.

Marijuana, on the other hand, is a hot topic. Its popularity calls for more testing and extensive understanding for more than just social use. This herb has become marketable and demands good reviews if possible.

Is marijuana really responsible for cognitive decline? Is our IQ really affected by our enjoyment of this herb of choice?

Further testing

A more robust test was conducted to help understand and prove these results. The test, however, produced conflicting results which shed new light on marijuana usage. According to these new results, daily marijuana use does not affect the size and volume of the brain. So, let’s look a bit closer and understand the accuracy of these tests and why we need them.

Hopeful Results

A team of six researchers led by Barbara Weiland of the University of Colorado conducted a controlled study that gauged the effects of daily marijuana use on adults and adolescents. The focus of the study was on areas of the brain, such as the amygdala, hippocampus and the cerebellum, where brain changes were monitored during the test period. With the enrollment of 29 adult users, 29 adult non-users, 50 adolescent users and 50 adolescent non-users, this robust test would show exactly what does and does not happen to the brain “on drugs”.

The researchers went further to match the groups based on depression, gender and tobacco use. They were also compared by alcohol use as well, much more so than the previous testing.

After testing, MRI scans were used to view changes that occurred in the brains of the participants. There were no apparent changes, including decreases of notable areas in question.

Although this seems like good news to the pro-marijuana population, the tests still have some limitations. It is important to note that even in controlled conditions, test results can depend highly on socioeconomic factors and history of test subjects. However, tests do point away from the detrimental effects of marijuana and suggest that maybe this wonder herb could present a much more positive reputation for science and society.

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