Contending it’s no more harmful than smoking cigarettes, eight states and the District of Columbia have joined Colorado and Washington in the legalization of marijuana for recreational use.
Another 23 states allow for limited use of medical marijuana under certain circumstances.
But a news study has found that “even small amounts” of marijuana can permanently change the brains of a teen.
“You’re changing your brain with just one or two joints. Most people would likely assume that one or two joints would have no impact on the brain,” Hugh Garavan of the University of Vermont told the Burlington Free Press.
The report explained Garavan and another university employee, Catherine Orr, looked at what happens to the brains of teens under the influence of marijuana.
“The results of the study included 46 children who reported they had only used the drug once or twice,” the report said.
But the researchers found a increase in gray matter “in the amygdala, which is involved in fear and other emotion-related processes, and in the hippocampus, involved in memory development and spatial abilities.”
There may be a physical reason why for years people have described getting “stoned” and why people are not allowed to drive under the influence of pot.
One addiction center found that people high on the drug exhibit poor muscle coordination, delayed reaction times, increase appetite, red eyes and a sudden change from being tense to totally relaxed.
One blog describes three levels of being under the influence: buzzed, high and stoned.
But the study casts a shadow on those wanting their buzz.
“Garavan explained in the statement that the enlargement of gray matter is in opposition to normal adolescent development,” the report said.
Orr told the Free Press that researchers are following up with a look at kids who have used the drug only a few times.
She explained the team might “get insight into possible mechanisms and factors that might explain why some of the subjects in this study seemed to be more vulnerable to the Grey Matter Volume effects we observed than others.”
It’s the second negative report about marijuana in just days.
An undercover study in Colorado revealed that many stores now selling marijuana are advising pregnant women to use the drug.
Marijuana, however, is a teratogen, like thalidomide, which caused deformed limbs in tens of thousands of children when it was prescribed to pregnant women decades ago.
“Only once has a known teratogen like cannabis been marketed globally. That was thalidomide,” said Dr. Albert Reece, a professor at Edith Cowan University.
“In the womb, it can not only interfere with brain development but basically amputate the forebrain,” he warned. “But as with thalidomide, no one is properly looking at the side-effects. They are frightening.”
The investigation by the University of Colorado found “women pretending to be suffering from morning sickness were encouraged to take cannabis.”