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Radio Shows | Smoke Pot & Shrink Your Brain | mp3wmawav

Even though Marijuana is illegal in the US, it doesn't carry the serious negative connotation of other street drugs like cocaine and heroine. Maybe marijuana is perceived differently because 51 percent of Americans have tried it and of those about half kept using it.

They may have reconsidered if they knew current studies show long term marijuana smokers have shrinkage in certain parts of the brain.

Using high resolution MRI, researchers found the hippocampus in the forebrain was on average 12 percent smaller while the amygdala located just inches from either ear was 7.1 percent smaller than non users. Plus, the greater the use, the smaller the brain in those areas.

The hippocampus and amygdala are responsible for regulating emotion and memory. So when users were tested for short term and long term memory, they often performed at the level of people 20 years older.

Marijuana users were also much more likely to experience psychotic like symptoms such as paranoia and schizophrenia. And the smaller the size of the hippocampus and amygdala, the more severe the symptoms.

Marijuana use is also associated with other mental disorders including panic attacks, hallucinations, depression and uncontrolled aggressiveness. It also impairs a person's coordination and judgment which can lead to accidents.

Although the results of this study were obtained from a relatively small sample size, the startling difference in brain structure should prompt larger studies.

But it's not just mental impairment that users suffer. Marijuana damages the bronchial passages and reduces the ability of immune cells in the lungs to fight off infections. Also, marijuana has 4-times the amount of tar than cigarettes and can lead to lung cancer.

That's a lot to consider if or the next time you light up…

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For more information…

WebMD has a report about the findings that link marijuana use and it effects on the brain with links to further information. New Scientist also has the same report.
For more information…

The National Institute for Drug Abuse has an excellent summary of the effects of marijuana use on health and well being.
For more information…

For a fact sheet on the effects of marijuana use please go here.

A report summarizing the toxin in Marijuana in comparison with tobacco please go here.

For information about the medical uses of marijuana please go here.

For an excellent source for information about marijuana and how it works in lay language with illustrations please go here.


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