Recreational Marijuana: Far From Harmless

“Reviews identify a correlation between cannabis use, notable changes to structure/function of the human cerebellum, and addiction.” Psychology Today

Mar 09, 2019

| Psychology Today – Two recent reviews have done deep and detailed dives into how cannabis affects the brain.

The first review, from January 2019, “The Cerebellum, THC, and Cannabis Addiction,” was published in The Cerebellum journal.

Study author Josep Moreno-Rius summed up his findings in the paper’s abstract:

“[The cerebellum] seems to be involved in the effects of addictive drugs and addiction-related processes… Preclinical research on the involvement of the cerebellum in cannabis’ effects has focused on the drug’s motor incoordinating actions, potentially underestimating its participation in addiction.”

The second recent paper that deconstructs how cannabis influences cerebellum is titled, “Cerebellar Alterations in Cannabis Use: A Systematic Review,” and was published February 27 in Addiction Biology.

As the authors explain, “We included studies that focused on cannabis effects on cerebellar structure, function, or cerebellar‐dependent behavioral tasks.”

The three most consistent findings of this review include:

  • Increases in cerebellar gray matter volume after chronic cannabis use
  • Alteration of cerebellar resting state activity after acute or chronic cannabis use
  • Deficits in memory, decision making, and associative learning related to cannabis use

As would be expected, the systematic review showed that higher lifelong exposure to cannabis and the younger someone was when he or she started smoking weed—or ingesting marijuana via edibles—was frequently associated with cannabis-induced alterations to cerebellum structure and function. Read more. 

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