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Wednesday, October 4, 2023


Pot may prevent brain damage

A medical study conducted by University of California San Diego the summer revealed evidence on how marijuana use may safeguard against brain damage.

Some UH students are not surprised by the findings.

‘I think that there should be more professional studies like this one, but unbiased in that they also test a group with only marijuana users,’ creative writing junior Eric Smith said.

Smith believes the study results will encourage marijuana as a safer alternative to alcohol and a more socially accepted drug. However, Smith said the study biased.

The study tested the effect of marijuana on 42 teenage students in three groups with varying degrees of prior interaction with drugs. Binge drinkers and those who also used marijuana comprised the first two groups. The control group involved participants with little or no history of alcohol or marijuana use.

Researchers employed special scanners for ‘diffusion tensor imaging’ to track changes in the white matter in subjects’ brains.

The results from the binge drinking only group showed significant brain damage in all eight areas, compared to the binge drinking and marijuana group in which damage was detected in only three of the eight regions.

The study does not provide any mind-changing material, especially in the U.S., which is weighed heavily by drug laws, psychology junior Ryan Aivalis said.

‘I’m skeptical of the study, and I believe that already on a purely physical level and believe the American public isn’t ready as a society for legalization,’ Aivalis said.

Many studies have proven that oversaturation of alcohol in one’s system is detrimental, especially for developing minds and bodies. Little information exists to show the relationship between alcohol and marijuana, and the type of chemistry it leaves in the brain.

In an online article by Patent Storm, the compounds in marijuana ‘have been found to have antioxidant properties. This newfound property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of ‘hellip; ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.’

Compounds have also been found useful as neuroprotectants to ‘[limit] neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia,’ the article said.

The U.S. government considers marijuana an illegal substance in all states. According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, the government imposes a marijuana tax and scored a patent on the drug for its medical benefits.

Another lesser-known study has revealed that marijuana may benefit in more ways than simply reversing hangover damage. The Cancer Prevention Research journal cited much lower instance of head and neck cancer in marijuana users than their smoke-free peers.

Despite these studies, students are still skeptical about bias and other forms of damage.

‘There’s always statistics like these,’ marketing junior Sarah Gregory said. ‘They’re usually ambiguous, and I think that in the end people that already smoke will use it as another justification.

‘But I’d have to hear more specifics as to what kind of brain damage it can prevent, because even so, you still have lung and memory damage.’

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