Marijuana shrinks brain and causes damage

Marijuana shrinks brain and causes damage

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"Our brain research lab at the University of B.C. [British Columbia] published a series of papers in the 1970s specifically demonstrating brain damage from cannabis." -- DR. PATRICK MCGEER

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... Cited articles:

(1) Actions of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol in cannabis-Relation to use, abuse, dependence/ PMCID: PMC2731700

(2) Cannabinoids promote embryonic and adult hippocampus neurogenesis and produce anxiolytic- and antidepressant-like effects/ PMCID: PMC1253627

(3) Changes in the Endocannabinoid System May Give Insight into new and Effective Treatments for Cancer/ PMCID: PMC2791688

This really bothers me that some of you are encouraging people to go out and use cannabis as if it had no deliterious effects on the body. You mention to simply legalize it and it is natural and it makes you feel good, sleepy, and hungry. YOu are saying right up front that it does affect how you see things and how you react. It is a drug. I am not going to comment on cigarettes or alcohol since the topic is marijuana. How many brain cells need to die before you lose who you are and awareness of what you are doing? I don;t want anyone on the road who is impaired in any way due to drugs. None of it is OK. Why do you think they call it "drugged"? You are not conscious of what you are doing and reaction time is slowed down. Now, tell me it is so wonderful and does no evil....

Teen marijuana use affects brain permanently: study
Last Updated: Thursday, December 17, 2009 | 6:31 PM ET Comments373Recommend123
CBC News

Regular marijuana use takes a worse toll on the teenage brain than thought, say researchers in Montreal who studied the effects of cannabis in rats.

The findings suggest daily marijuana use by teens can cause depression and anxiety, and have an irreversible effect on the brain.

The study, which was published in the journal Neurobiology of Disease, looked at 18 adolescent and adult rats that were exposed to cannabis.

Those given the drug had decreased levels of serotonin, which affects mood.

The animals also showed higher levels of norepinephrine that can increase susceptibility to long-term stress, said Dr. Gabriella Gobbi, a psychiatric researcher from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre.

"These permanent changes in the brain are also linked to certain mental illnesses, like schizophrenia," Gobbi said Thursday.

"And we showed that even if we stopped the cannabis use at the end of adolescence, the changes were still detectable in adulthood."

Previous population studies have looked at how smoking marijuana can affect behavior in some teenagers. But Gobbi said this was one of the first to focus on how the drug affects depression and anxiety in adolescence compared with adulthood.

The researchers also plan to observe a group of young human marijuana smokers to investigate the idea further.

The study was funded by a grant from The Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation.

With files from The Canadian Press

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Active Ingredient in Marijuana Kills Brain Cancer Cells
April 2nd, 2009 by fernando
Experts say finding worth further study,
but patients shouldn’t light up just yet.
By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

New research out of Spain suggests that THC — the active ingredient in marijuana — appears to prompt the death of brain cancer cells.

The finding is based on work with mice designed to carry human cancer tumors, as well as from an analysis of THC’s impact on tumor cells extracted from two patients coping with a highly aggressive form of brain cancer.
Explaining that the introduction of THC into the brain triggers a cellular self-digestion process known as “autophagy,” study co-author Guillermo Velasco said his team has isolated the specific pathway by which this process unfolds, and noted that it appears “to kill cancer cells, while it does not affect normal cells.”

Velasco is with the department of biochemistry and molecular biology in the School of Biology at Complutense University in Madrid. The findings were published in the April issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

The Spanish researchers focused on two patients suffering from “recurrent glioblastoma multiforme,” a fast-moving form of brain cancer. Both patients had been enrolled in a clinical trial designed to test THC’s potential as a cancer therapy.
Using electron microscopes to analyze brain tissue taken both before and after a 26- to 30-day THC treatment regimen, the researchers found that THC eliminated cancer cells while it left healthy cells intact.

The team also was able, in what it described as a “novel” discovery, to track the signaling route by which this process was activated.

These findings were replicated in work with mice, which had been “engineered” to carry three different types of human cancer tumor grafts.

“These results may help to design new cancer therapies based on the use of medicines containing the active principle of marijuana and/or in the activation of autophagy,” Velasco said.
Outside experts suggested that more research is needed before advocating marijuana as a medicinal intervention for brain cancer.

Dr. John S. Yu, co-director of the Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program in the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said the findings were “not surprising.”
“There have been previous reports to this effect as well,” he said. “So this is yet another indication that THC has an anti-cancer effect, which means it’s certainly worth further study. But it does not suggest that one should jump at marijuana for a potential cure for cancer, and one should not urge anyone to start smoking pot right away as a means of curing their own cancer.”

But that’s exactly what many brain cancer patients have been doing, said Dr. Paul Graham Fisher, the Beirne Family director of Neuro-Oncology at Stanford University.

“In fact, 40 percent of brain tumor patients in the U.S. are already using alternative treatments, ranging from herbals to vitamins to marijuana,” he said. “But that actually points out a cautionary tale here, which is that many brain cancer patients are already rolling a joint to treat themselves, but we’re not really seeing brain tumors suddenly going away as a result, which we clearly would’ve noticed if it had that effect. So we need to be open-minded. But this suggests that the promise of THC might be a little over-hoped, and certainly requires further investigation before telling people to go out and roll a joint.”