Does Marijuana Really Kill Brain Cells?

By chillinwill · Sep 13, 2009 · ·
  1. chillinwill
    “Smoking marijuana kills brain cells.” If you have ever smoked marijuana you’ve probably heard this myth at some point or another. But you might not know the horrible origins of this dreadful lie.

    It was Ronald Reagan who said “the most reliable scientific sources say permanent brain damage is one of the inevitable results of the use of marijuana.” What were those reliable scientific sources you ask?

    In 1974, Dr. Robert G. Heath, a researcher at Tulane University in New Orleans, reported that he had found proof that marijuana caused brain damage while experimenting on monkeys. Heath reported that rhesus monkeys smoking an equivalent of 30 joints a day began to atrophy and die after just 90 days. Autopsies revealed that the monkeys who had been exposed to the marijuana smoke had more dead brain cells than the control monkeys, who had not been exposed.

    How did Heath come up with these results? What were his procedures? For six years, no one knew. It took Playboy and NORML six years of requesting and suing under the Freedom of Information Act to finally receive an accurate accounting of the procedures Heath used.

    Four monkeys were strapped into chairs with transparent plastic boxes surrounding their heads. The head chamber was sealed so that the smoke being pumped in wouldn’t be lost. This also meant that the carbon monoxide couldn’t escape either. Instead of the 30-joints-a-day dosage that Heath had reported, the monkeys were given the equivalent of 63 joints in five minutes, every day, for three months.

    The poor monkeys were being suffocated for five minutes at a time, on a daily basis, over a period of three months. After which they were killed so that their brains could be autopsied, and the dead brain cells caused by carbon monoxide poisoning were attributed to marijuana. This was Ronald Reagan’s “reliable scientific” source.

    Heath’s experiments have since been criticized for insufficient sample size and failure to control other determining factors, such as the carbon monoxide poisoning. Similar experiments, involving more monkeys and better control, have since contradicted Heath’s reported findings. But sadly, the lie based on his research is still used to frighten smokers today. And will most likely continue to be used until enough people know the truth.

    It is not always wise to believe everything you read, so do the research yourself. Marijuana doesn’t kill brain cells; lack of oxygen does, so everyone remember to breathe.

    By Brian Breeding
    September 12, 2009

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  1. chinpokomaster
    Failure to control other determining factors? The man was clearly controlling them all, adversely and grossly for the purposes of his government-funded "research".
  2. nibble
    I'd have to agree, you don't go through years of university and presumably many years of employed research if you're a complete idiot. This must have have been engineered to produce the desired result.
  3. Nature Boy
    This drug myth is well past its sell-by date by now. Only the most ignorant types still bring it up and they're usually laughed out of the room. There's probably a few kids that still believe it when they hear it but it's right up there with believing in ghosts, yetis and faeries.
  4. g666d
    wish this was true, everywhere.
    Suppose though, on the whole, attitudes are changing,
    really want to post article of local stupidity/propaganda, but don't want my location too well known...
    Swear to god there are some 'pillars' of society still believe that exact experiment, where swim is anyway.
  5. LilithPool
    pot does impair brain cells a bit but once you stop they get back to normal or you build a tolerance to it. swim never believed it kill them, if you see the difference between a long term pothead and long term severe alcoholic (or from what swim has observed)
    the stupidity is started to become amusing :confused:
  6. EscapeDummy
    There isn't even evidence to suggest that pot impairs brain cells after the high is gone. Heavy smokers may suffer from some short-term memory loss for a bit, but even that isn't universal.
  7. ninjaned
    why would someone do this to any animal? and just to keep people from smoking a little pot? sometimes i hate this society, i really do. people make me so sad.
  8. corvardus
    Remember this is referring to a study done in 1974. Back then the Animal Rights movement and animal ethics were not as strong as it is today. Killing animals in the name of propaganda was seen as acceptable.

    Proves to me that bad science will ALWAYS been exposed for what it is, eventually. It takes some time but bad science is unable to stay buried for long.
  9. Nature Boy
    Do you live in the American south? The level of ignorance there is supposedly beyond belief. Half of those poor bastards are still fighting the Civil War. Perhaps you should consider leaving for more open-minded pastures. Although this,, is done for fun, you do see some worrying patterns. The US really is the toilet bowl where everything eventually has to sink to the bottom.
  10. EscapeDummy
    Very true about the South. Get this: from the turn of the 20th century, until 1964, the South was a democratic stronghold. Why until 1964? Well, that was the year that Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act. Johnson even remarked privately that "I believe I just delivered the South to the Republican Party," and it's true, they haven't voted Democrat since. Yes, that's right. The South isn't extremely republican because they super identify with those views; they turned Republican to PUNISH the democrats for giving black people rights. I fucking am 100% serious. Fuck. Pisses me off.
  11. Nature Boy
    Just look at those marches on Washington. I don't think a spotted a single black, Asian or hispanic. They also have very bad spelling and they can't decide whether Obama's a Nazi, a communist or a Muslim.
  12. One Eyed
    For me the bottom line is: so fuck if it does kill your brain cells, we'll only be around for 50 years or so before some old-age associated disease starts disassembling our brains anyway. Might as well have fun on your way down!
  13. Desertfox
  14. fuelBrain
    I heard pot kills brain cells

    this is a joke....i wasn't serious
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