Scans Reveal Brain Damage From Cannabis Is Like Schizophrenia

Discussion in 'Cannabis & Health' started by Alfa, Dec 11, 2005.

  1. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

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    SCANS REVEAL BRAIN DAMAGE FROM CANNABIS IS LIKE SCHIZOPHRENIA
    SCIENTISTS have shown for the first time that the damage to brains from smoking cannabis is the same as that in schizophrenia sufferers.
    Images taken using a new scanning technique provide evidence that cannabis disrupts the brain's electrical signals in the same way as in schizophrenia.
    The findings add to growing evidence the drug may be a significant cause of mental illness in adolescents and a possible trigger for schizophrenia in those who are genetically vulnerable.
    Previous studies have examined patients' behaviour and medical histories. This is the first time direct evidence of a link has been found inside the brain.
    "What we saw should cause alarm because the type of damage in cannabis smokers' brains was exactly the same as in those with schizophrenia and in exactly the same place in the brain," said Dr Manzar Ashtari, associate professor of radiology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. Her research was presented last week to the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago.
    Ashtari added: "To me, this is proof of the damage cannabis can do and it is shown up graphically for the first time. All the research by psychiatrists so far has strongly suggested cannabis-smoking youngsters run a higher risk of developing psychotic behaviour. Now we have extremely strong evidence that shows what damage has been done."
    The new research will add to pressure on the government to change its policy on cannabis. Last year the drug was downgraded from class B to class C, which means the police no longer routinely arrest people caught with small amounts.
    The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs is shortly expected to tell Charles Clarke, the home secretary, that evidence of the harm caused by cannabis is not strong enough for this decision to be reconsidered.
    Ashtari's team used a new technique called diffusion tensor imaging to look into the brains of 15 cannabis smokers, who had all given up taking the drug a month before the study.
    They had smoked an average of once a day for a year and were aged 15 to 18. Their brains were compared with those of schizophrenics and of healthy people.
    The scans looked deep into the "white matter" -- the material that connects brain cells. In patients with schizophrenia, electrical signals are no longer routed correctly.
    Schizophrenia sufferers find they are unable to separate real from unreal experiences and may see hallucinations, hear voices, lose the ability to concentrate and become paranoid. Sufferers typically develop the illness between the ages of 17 and 30.
    In both the schizophrenia patients and the cannabis users, damage was found to white matter in a bundle of nerves and other fibres in the left frontal lobe. This area is associated with language and hearing.
    This part of the brain is still developing during adolescence, which means it is vulnerable to damage. "We were able to see in real time abnormal behaviour in this area which was not present in the brains of adolescents who did not have schizophrenia and had not smoked cannabis," said Ashtari.
    Robin Murray, a professor at the Institute of Psychiatry in London,
    said: "This does seem to be a landmark study, although we will need to see it repeated. For the first time, we are able to see the effects of cannabis smoking on the brain."
     
  2. thegod1

    thegod1 Newbie

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    Oh great, another reason to keep it illegal.
     
  3. CrystalDextro

    CrystalDextro Newbie

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    Explains why im retarted and mix up my speech like a person with dsylexia (NO offense)
     
  4. Caliform

    Caliform Gold Member

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    I must argue that these 'brainwave' analysis actually means that your way of thinking has changed. It's rather representative of how many of what neurons (brain cells) are fired and in what consistency. Schizophrenia also has similarities with the effects of LSD or mushrooms, but they are not the same. I think this can go under HPPD, but then physically proven HPPD.
     
  5. warandhate

    warandhate Newbie

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    HPPD? I dont think im schizo yet...
     
  6. IHrtHalucingens

    IHrtHalucingens Palladium Member

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    The results from one study of 15 people does not prove nething, but it is very interesting, i often wonder what it is like to be schizophrenic, maybe ill find out after all. But they will need years more of experiments and 1,000's more people to show the same symptoms to change anything legally.
     
  7. Jatelka

    Jatelka Psychedelic Shepherdess Platinum Member & Advisor

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    So the smokers were aged 15 to 18. And schizophrenia usually starts at 17-30. And similar damage was found in both groups. There is a degree of evidence that people who are developing early signs of schizophrenia are more likely to use marijuana (to "self-medicate"). Which induces a "which came first scenario". It would be very interesting to see if those 15-18 year olds are followed up to age 30. SWIM's not been able to access a full text verion of this paper online, but she would be very interested to look at the inclusion criteria and whether the marijuana users were formally assessed for early symptoms of mental illness before being enrolled in the study. Interestingly "normal appearences" were determined by scanning only 24 teenagers.
     
  8. Silence_Inc

    Silence_Inc Silver Member

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    yeah, i wonder if CHANGE = DAMAGE for these poeple ... there is no doubt that change comes from smoking weed ... yes, even some ''crazyness'' appears in some ways ... but again - crazyness because you compare it with 100.000.000 ''normal'' people ... maybe just evolution - so many years ago - our brains didn't even look like the ones we have today ... Mckenna┬░ was always talking about language ... maybe weed changes our normal ability to use language and hooks up with something else ... i myself am pretty ''obsessed'' with language - weed smokers play with words in a way that non-smokers don't usually grasp ... all those funny stupid jokes and games with words and names - i bet you all have those too? - it's playing with reaity and how we percieve it - or express it through words ...
     
  9. bman2

    bman2 Newbie

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    glad I am over 30 maybe out of the clear. But is there a full version of this article? How did they choose these 15 teenagers and did they only smoke weed or did the do other things. I do not see mention to this in the article.
     
  10. turfshark_40

    turfshark_40 Silver Member

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    They don't tell you that these same patterns are shown in alcoholics and people with depression. And, like jatelka said, there is a lot of argument over the possibility that schizophrenics use marijuana to self-medicate when the disease is in its early stages.
    The damage is actual damage too, its not just a change in the way of thinking. The scans are looking at the dopamine receptors in the brain, which are more active in the brains of schizophrenics and there is also a different kind of dopamine receptor that is more common in schizophrenics than in healthy brains. When you smoke, you also get increased activity in the dopamine receptors and increased activity can lead to damage.
    Isn't it funny that these studies are being put out that show the "link" between schizophrenia and marijuana, right now when the war on weed in the US is having a tough time convincing people of its merit? I wonder who paid for this study.
     
  11. a-SalviaLover

    a-SalviaLover Silver Member

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    Why hasn't any one got schizophrenia from pot then? And if it causes similar electrical signal as those of schizphrenia (which IS possible) what is the problem when these signals don't continueafter the end of weed's effects? The solution of this problem is simple. If you have schzophrenia or hav ea family history of schizophrenia sufferers, DON'T SMOKE POT! And if you do smoke your eventual hospitalisation would be do to your own decisions, which you are responsible for.
     
  12. LowExpectations

    LowExpectations Silver Member

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    Because of this damn drug war, everyone is all for or all against. Cannabis is a potent psychodelic to be respected and enjoyed responsibly. Everything will do damage if done in excess, from TV to heroin, and everything can be partaken in if one understands and respects it, from TV to heroin.
     
  13. drew_2

    drew_2 Newbie

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    so, what is it in Cannabis that causes the schizophrenia? Why didnt they research this when Marinol was approved? and how can this be accurate? being an illegal substance there is no way to determine that the cannabis was purely cannabis.
     
  14. StigmataLectron

    StigmataLectron Silver Member

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    All the cannabis talked about and used in research in the US is from (very, very degrading, low-potecny, shwag, insulting-to-stoner-kind I might add) farms in Missisippi. But you're right. It's not cannabis, it's ditchweed. <img>
     
  15. Alicia

    Alicia Gold Member

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    Another scare tactic maybe? Swia is aware that cannabis can cause psychosis to come to the fore , in vulnerable and pre disposition people.Or in people who push it that little bit to far with a combination of other substances, it boils down to the neurochemistry being played with over and over. and bang...
     
  16. drew_2

    drew_2 Newbie

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    i've heard that the cannabis they use in research actually includes stems and seeds, along with the buds. anyone else heard this?