New research out of the National Institute on Drug Abuse may link heavy marijuana use to adverse changes in both structure and function in the brain. Heavy use, defined as using four times per week for a duration of six months or more, is now possibly affecting the areas of the brain that are associated with motivation, decision making, and reward functions. Marijuana use may also enhance other brain circuits to make up for reduced function of these other parts of the brain. The research has explained that the effect was more pronounced in those who “started using at a young age, indicating that developing brains are particularly vulnerable to marijuana’s effects.” While heavy marijuana use is still being studied in depth, these findings certainly build upon other literature indicating marijuana’s negative effects on the brain.
Click here to read the full article from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.