Cannabis: Studies Show Impaired Thinking and Creativity, Impaired Motivation and School Success, and MRI Proven Brain Damage

marijuanaIn the article recently published in the journal Psychopharmacology, October 2014 “Cannabis and creativity: highly potent cannabis impairs divergent thinking in regular cannabis users” (which you can read here… )  it was shown that regular users who were taking high dose cannabis did significantly worse on thinking tasks when compared to those taking low dose and placebo.  In other words, your mind works better and is more creative, when you do NOT use cannabis or use just low doses.  Too often you hear artists and musicians, writers, and performers tell you that they do their best work under the influence of this or that substance.  The truth is that the opposite is true.  Those who become dependent on a substance, be it marijuana or alcohol, etc. will need to rationalize the need to continue using that substance.  We do not have a cannabis deficiency or alcohol deficiency that is treatable with using these substances.

In the Lancet Psychology journal, September 2014, is the article “Young adult sequelae of adolescent cannabis use: an integrative analysis” showed significant adverse effects for those who became daily users before age 17 including:

  • Decreased graduation from high-school
  • Fewer degrees in higher education
  • Increased cannabis dependence
  • Increased use of other illicit drugs
  • Increased suicide attempts (you can read more about this here… )

I guess those who want to see these effects increase, should continue the push to legalize this horrible drug. I get it that we need to stop filling our prisons with young people who are found in possession of marijuana, but that could be accomplished by changing the laws.  I cringe when I hear the frequent statements about how safe marijuana is.  These individuals either themselves have not yet been harmed by this drug or they just don’t see all the damage it does.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has published this year a study showing that well rested students do better academically and in another study they showed that marijuana use was associated with poor sleep.  They report that any history of cannabis use was associated with increased difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep and waking up refreshed.  Those who started marijuana before age 15 were more than twice as likely to struggle with all three of these sleep-related disorders.

You see, as with most addictions, what initially helps you get to sleep or feel better, ultimately becomes your nemesis and imprisons you in a vicious cycle of needing the substance that is actually giving you short term benefits while making you worse over time.

In the Journal of Neurosciences, April 2014 “Cannabis Use is Quantitatively Associated with Nucleus Accumbens Abnormalities in Young Adult Recreational Users,” they showed that as little as once a week marijuana use resulted in structural changes in the size and shape of the area of the brain involved in emotion and motivation. (you can read more here… )

We are talking about MRI visible changes to the brain.  Can you even imagine the changes at the chemical level?  When I hear ignorant comments about how harmless marijuana is, I don’t even know where to start. I guess those who want to keep their head in the sand will only hear what the sand has to say, which is just the echo of their own thoughts!


Dr. Paul



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