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Real Talk on Marijuana and the Brain

People are different, and so are strains

People are different, and so are strains

It would be fantastic to know that marijuana causes close to zero side-effects but the majority of honest regular smokers will admit, it does do something. Now what that something is still unfortunately a bit of a mystery as enough studies have yet to be conducted because of prohibition to conclude definitive facts.

From some of the old school studies which had been conducted, it had been reported that cannabis use can cause panic and anxiety attacks as well as paranoia, but the same studies had concluded that it seems these effects are case by case and scenario specific. This can be best explained by the incredible variety of marijuana strains, and understanding that different strains affect different people, differently, naturally. There are three dominant forms of strains: Sativa -known for it’s more head high effects – Indica -known for it’s more body high effects- and Hybrids, if the name isn’t self-explanatory enough, it’s a cross-breed of both Indica and Sativa ranging in the potency of each. Yet these guidelines of effects again vary and shouldn’t be regarded as rules. People are different, and so are strains, even strains with the same name.

As marijuana gains popularity, studies are increasing as well. Some recent studies have indicated that heavy and frequent pot use over several years can affect brain tissue. MRI scanning showed a reduction of gray matter density in the right parahippocampal gyrus, a region of the brain most important for memory encoding and retrieving. It also showed an increase of gray matter density bilaterally in the precentral gyrus, a region responsible for the sense of touch. It is very important to note however that subjects which experienced changes in gray matter, compared to non-smokers, also experienced changes in white matter, bizarrely not in entirely the same manner. The parahippocampal gyrus, the fusiform gyri, and the precentral gyrus increased in white matter, while the parietal lobe decreased in white matter, all occurring on the left side of the brain. It is still uncertain what these effects actually mean for long-term heavy marijuana users. This has been the only scientific findings of heavy marijuana use leading to growth or restrictions of brain tissue.

From anecdotal studies throughout the world, marijuana has been proven again and again to aid people suffering from loss of appetite, seizures and anxiety, which raises questions about how scientific studies had been carried in the past. Had these studies been carried with the intention of creating negative propaganda? Had the studies been conducted with control groups or simply with a small sample size? Hopefully the future will mean the doors of proper scientific studies will open and more definite relations will be found.

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