Does High-Potency Marijuana Cause Brain Damage?
Weed today is not what it was 20 years ago, as high-potency marijuana strains are making the drug more dangerous than ever before. In fact, scientists are now saying cannabis with high THC content may cause brain damage.
The effects of marijuana have been debated for nearly as long as people have been smoking it. But as weed is one of the most commonly consumed drugs in the world, being aware of its impacts is important. Our knowledge of the drug is always evolving – whereas before we thought it was not possible to be addicted to marijuana, many rehabs now offer treatment for marijuana addiction.
Recently, scientists have been studying newer, higher potency marijuana that is becoming increasingly commonplace, especially in countries where pot is legal. These ‘super-strains’ of weed have a much higher amount of THC — so much so that they could cause brain damage.
From ‘Regular’ Pot to Bruce Banner #3
Recent legalisation in communities worldwide has been accompanied by a rise in cannabis connoisseurs who have refined the agricultural process of growing pot. Now, we see strains of marijuana that are more than 15 times stronger than those of the previous generation. Typical weed is now considered low-grade, having only between 2-4 per cent THC, whereas the most popular strains today, like Bruce Banner #3 and Chiquita Banana, have upwards of 30 per cent THC content.
Studies on the impacts of marijuana have yet to take into account these ultra-strength strains — until now. Several researchers are now trying to prove the different, and more dangerous, effects of high-potency versus lower-grade cannabis.
Why is High-Potency Marijuana Dangerous?
The legalisation of pot has also led many people to believe that it is a safe drug. However, recent studies are showing a very different reality.
In 2014, Harvard University found that those who smoked marijuana recreationally had notable brain abnormalities compared to those who did not smoke pot. More specifically, a landmark study done by the Institute of Psychology at King’s College in London specifically looked at the effect of ‘skunk’ (stronger strains) compared to ‘regular’ pot.
Brain scans of the participants in the study showed that those who smoked skunk had damage to the white matter (corpus callosum) between the brain’s two hemispheres. Communication between the left and right hemisphere happens within this white matter. As a result, pot smokers with damage to the corpus callosum may have less efficient communication between the two halves of the brain.
Lead researcher Paola Dazzan says that the damage to the corpus callosum is likely related the marijuana’s THC level. This is made evident by the fact that those who did not smoke, or smoked only low-grade marijuana, had no damage to the corpus callosum.
The Brain of a Pot Smoker
The long-held controversy with marijuana research has to do with being able to establish cause and effect. It is the classic chicken-or-egg argument of what comes first: do people with these brain abnormalities tend to smoke more weed, or does cannabis cause abnormalities to form?
The researchers at King’s College state that they cannot posit with total certainty that high-potency marijuana causes brain damage. What the study does prove is that if you smoke high-potency marijuana, your brain looks different that those who do not, and that this difference likely effects the brain’s ability to function properly.
Treatment for Marijuana Addiction
Whether you smoke high- or low-grade marijuana, it is entirely possible to become addicted. In recent years more and more people have been seeking treatment for marijuana addiction. In fact, the National Institute of Drug Abuse says that up to 30 per cent of people who smoke pot may have some degree of marijuana dependency. This is contrary to the belief that most people hold, regarding cannabis as a non-addictive substance.
At The Cabin Singapore, we effectively and confidentially treat marijuana addiction. Our highly experienced, Western-trained addiction experts can help you get to the root cause of your addiction. The Cabin Singapore’s outpatient programme is conveniently located and allows you to fit treatment around your daily schedule. If you are ready to start living a healthier lifestyle, free from addiction, contact us today.