e.Peak (31/10/2005) news: science: Study shows marijuana increases brain cell growth
Sounds great, right? Well although this is a promising new development, there is still a lot of research that needs to be done.ST. JOHN’S, Nfld — Supporters of marijuana may finally have an excuse to smoke weed every day. A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation suggests that smoking pot can make the brain grow.
Though most drugs inhibit the growth of new brain cells, injections of a synthetic cannibinoid have had the opposite effect in mice in a study performed at the University of Saskatchewan. Research on how drugs affect the brain has been critical to addiction treatment, particularly research on the hippocampus.
The hippocampus is an area of the brain essential to memory formation. It is unusual because it grows new neurons over a person’s lifetime. Researchers believe these new cells help to improve memory and fight depression and mood disorders.
My middle finger is halfway up and ready to flick off all my teachers and parents who have tried to tell me marijuana kills brain cells. Keep the research coming.“That does not mean that general use in healthy people is beneficial,” said Memorial psychology professor William McKim. “We need to learn if this happens in humans, whether this is useful in healthy people, and whether THC causes it as well.”
McKim warns that marijuana disrupts memory and cognition. “These effects can be long-lasting after heavy use,” he said. “This makes it difficult to succeed academically if you use it excessively.”
“Occasional light use probably does not have very serious consequences. [But] there is some evidence that marijuana smoke might cause cancer.”
Still, the positive aspects of marijuana are becoming more plentiful as further research is done. McKim says it’s not surprising that THC and compounds like it could have medicinal effects.