The stereotypes of slow stupid stoners that we see on TV and in movies have made many people believe that “marijuana makes you dumb.” But, does it really?
With the number of new legal marijuana users increasing every year, they should feel informed and safe when choosing to consume marijuana. Many are uninformed on its true effects, creating myths about marijuana and scares about marijuana’s long-term effects are as old as prohibition itself. One popular myth in particular that continues to spread is the idea that cannabis kills your brain. But is it true?
There is actually no scientific evidence that suggests marijuana has any neurotoxic effects on the brain. The original myth arose from a scientific research study in which monkeys were subject to
high and concentrated doses of marijuana. Due to variables affecting the results, these studies were discredited by much more accurate and controlled studies which have come up with the true conclusion. According to Dr. William Slikker of the National Center of Toxicological Research, there are no signs of negative alteration on the brain when consuming daily doses of marijuana. Further studies on heavier users still found no evidence of neurotoxicity in the brain.
In 2001, Dr Carl Hart published research showing that regular marijuana consumers showed no mental decline while high. Regular consumption, he found, led to a tolerance to marijuana’s impairing effects – the infrequent consumer who gets stoned might have more trouble solving the crossword puzzle, for example, but not the regular toker.
Another study from 2011 followed nearly 2,000 young Australian adults for eight years. It found that marijuana has little long-term effect on learning and memory— and any cognitive damage that does occur as a result of cannabis use is reversible after a short period of abstinence.
As research on the positive health effects of marijuana continues to move forward, it is safe to say that the myth of marijuana harming the brain can finally be put to rest.
What do you think?