Cannabis Law Tips – Show 67

Sorry Sheila Polk, Bill Montgomery and Mark Brnovich – Marijuana Does Not Negatively Affect the Brain

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According to a recent study and a report issued in The Journal of Neuroscience, marijuana use is not associated with structural changes in the brain. Investigators from the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Louisville in Kentucky assessed brain morphology in both daily adult and adolescent cannabis users compared to non-users, with a particular focus on whether any differences were identifiable in the nucleus accumbens, amygdala, hippocampus, and the cerebellum. Investigators reported “no statistically significant differences … between daily users and nonusers on [brain] volume or shape in the regions of interest” after researchers controlled for participants’ use of alcohol. “[T]he results indicate that, when carefully controlling for alcohol use, gender, age, and other variables, there is no association between marijuana use and standard volumetric or shape measurements of subcortical structures,” researchers reported.

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The study’s results failed to replicate well-publicized findings reported in the same journal in 2014, purporting to associate cannabis use by young adults with changes in brain morphology. Authors of the new study theorized that the contradictory results were likely because of previous researchers’ failure to adequately control for the effects of alcohol, which “has been unequivocally associated with deleterious effects on brain morphology and cognition in both adults and adolescents.”

Researchers concluded that “[I]t seems unlikely that marijuana use has the same level of long-term deleterious effects on brain morphology as other drugs like alcohol. … The press may not cite studies that do not find sensational effects, but these studies are still extremely important.”

Full text of the study, “Daily marijuana use is not associated with brain morphometric measures in adolescents or adults,” appears in The Journal of Neuroscience. Thanks to Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director,, for this information.

Findings of another risk assessment study published in the journal Nature: Scientific Reports, conclude that health risks associated with the use of cannabis have likely been “overestimated” while the dangers associated with the consumption of alcohol “have been commonly underestimated,” An international team of investigators from Germany and Canada performed a comparative risk assessment of various substances – including alcohol, tobacco, opiates, cannabis, and cocaine – based on their level of toxicity following human exposure. The authors reported that cannabis possessed the lowest risk of any of the substances assessed while alcohol possessed the highest risk.

These results “point to a risk management prioritization toward alcohol and tobacco rather than illicit drugs,” the authors concluded. They added that cannabis’ low risk categorization suggests a “strict regulatory approach rather than the current prohibition approach [would be more logical and beneficial].” In other words, they believe that cannabis should be treated like a prescription drug.

Thanks again to and for more information please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: Full text of the study, “Comparative risk assessment of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and other illicit drugs using the margin of exposure approach,” appears online here:

Please remember to always carry your card and renew it before it expires.

Jeffrey S. Kaufman, Esq.

5725 N. Scottsdale Road, Suite 190

Scottsdale, AZ 86250

(480) 994-8000


By rubylexi • March 5, 2015 • 12:00 am

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