Home > Drug Testing, Drug-Free Workplace, Marijuana Usage, Medicinal Marijuana > New Findings on Marijuana Usage & Its Effects on the Brain

New Findings on Marijuana Usage & Its Effects on the Brain

Supporters of legalizing marijuana have long said that the drug has no proven harmful effects — but recent research from Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital might prove these claims unfounded.

Read on to learn more about the latest on marijuana use and how it affects the brain.

Does Marijuana Cause Brain Abnormalities?

The study out of eastern Massachusetts examined the effects of marijuana usage in 40 young adults aged 18 to 25. Using brain scans, researchers were able to see how marijuana use had affected the participants’ brains, and they found that the most frequent pot-smokers (who lit up at least once a week, averaging 11 joints per week) had more brain abnormalities in regions that deal with motivation, emotion, and decision-making compared to pot smokers who had only smoked less than 5 times in their lifetime.

Does this mean that smoking pot causes brain abnormalities? Not necessarily. Experts agree that there is a correlation between the two, but further research is needed before it’s proven that marijuana is the direct cause.

Previous Research on Marijuana & the Mind

The new research echoes some previous studies on marijuana and the mind. For example, one New Zealand study of 1,000 people found that the IQs of heavy marijuana users showed a significant drop in IQ from age 13 to 38. Researchers think the IQ drop could be linked to the vulnerability of the adolescent mind during development, suggesting marijuana use at these young ages could effectively “hijack” the mind.

How Will the Research Impact Medical Marijuana Usage?ARCpoint Labs of Worcester | Marijuana Usage & the Brain

With more states legalizing medical marijuana — Massachusetts among them — it remains to be seen how this new research might impact the further spread of the drug.

There are several terminal and chronic pediatric diseases that are covered under medical marijuana laws, including leukemia and Dravet Syndrome, a type of epilepsy.

Doctors and advocates say that adolescents shouldn’t engage in recreational marijuana usage, medical usage should still be considered for those young patients that truly need it and pass the required screening process. Further research will need to be done before restrictions are made or more conclusive connections are confirmed.

Test Your Employees for Marijuana Usage

While the legality and safety of recreational and medical marijuana will continue to be debated, the value of drug testing for marijuana has been steadily verified over the years. If your workplace needs drug testing, ARCpoint Labs of Worcester can provide it. Our quick, confidential, and reliable marijuana testing for employers or parents who need to verify suspicions of prescription drug abuse.

To learn more about our services or to get started on drug testing for marijuana usage today, call (774) 314-9551.

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