SEATTLE (CBS Seattle) – A new study on marijuana use warns the highly-potent strains of the drug available on the market today could cause brain damage or even lead to psychosis.
British researchers studied the brains of heavy marijuana users in South London.
“If you look at the corpus callosum, what we’re seeing is a significant difference in the white matter between those who use high potency cannabis and those who never use the drug, or use the low-potency drug,” study co-author Paola Dazzan told The Guardian.
White matter in the brain transmits signals from one region of the cerebrum to another and from the cerebrum to other parts of the brain. When the white matter is impaired or damaged, it can block communication between the right and left hemispheres of the brain.
Dazzan blames tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in pot. While most marijuana contains onlu 2-4 percent of THC, about 100 high-potency brands of pot contain as much as 14 percent THC.
“What we can say is if it’s high potency, and if you smoke frequently, your brain is different from the brain of someone who smokes normal cannabis, and from someone who doesn’t smoke cannabis at all,” explained Dazzan.
Dr. Romina Mizrahi, director of the Focus on Youth Psychosis Prevention clinic at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, who has studied marijuana, told Digital Journal the damage can be serious.
“Teenagers think that cannabis is harmless,” she warned. “It is not. And for some people, it’s particularly dangerous.”
The study is published in the journal The Lancet.