In the 1970s, the “anti-drug war” caused all kinds of conflicting information to be published about the effects of smoking marijuana. Most campaigns promoted abstinence of the substance due to the fact that it supposedly killed brain cells.
Is this true, though? Are pot smokers significantly damaging their brains’ functioning ability?
In the modern day, there have been many studies that prove brain damage is not actually a side effect of pot use. As marijuana becomes more and more socially (and legally) acceptable, common citizens are starting to wonder just what kind of effects the substance truly causes.
This article outlines the true, mostly positive, effects of smoking pot for the average user. Continue reading to learn everything you need to know to answer the question about whether or not smoking marijuana does indeed kill brain cells.
Many years ago, there was a study done in New Zealand to explore the long-term effects of chronic marijuana use. The results of the study seemed to suggest that heavy users significantly lowered their IQ with the substance.
The study followed 1000 smokers of marijuana and measured their IQs at the ages of 13 to 38. About 3.8% of the users were found to have lost on average 8 IQ points.
This led many people to assume that smoking pot was detrimental to a person’s IQ, and therefore it should be avoided entirely.
In fact, though, such a low percentage does not point to a correlation between marijuana and the loss of brain cells. Another thing to consider is that the 3.8% consisted of users who smoked significantly more often than other users.
Prevention of Alzheimer’s and Other Brain Disorders
After the “war on drugs” from previous decades, more research was done on the effects of smoking pot. The results were actually positive in many areas, particularly when it came to brain health.
Studies of marijuana use show that a continued use over time can actually decrease the symptoms of certain brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. While there still needs to be more research done on the subject, the correlations are promising so far.
Other issues with the brain which seem to be helped by the use of marijuana include Parkinson’s disease and even brain cancer in some cases (by reducing the size of tumors).
Note that these studies only present suggestive correlations, so users of marijuana should still refrain from a consistently heavy, daily use of the substance until further evidence can prove their legitimate prevention of brain disorders.
Marijuana and Adolescents
Though there have been positive effects correlated with the habit of smoking pot. It might not be a good idea for a long-term daily habit – especially for teenagers.
During our adolescence, our brains are still developing on a physical level. The brain continues to grow and change until our young adulthood.
Some of the previously mentioned studies suggest that smoking marijuana at a young age can stifle further development once the teenager reaches adulthood.
At the same time, remember that there have not been quantifiable data to prove this danger to teenagers. In fact, some other studies suggest there are no effects at all!
While it might seem like there are conflicting results from research. It is a good idea as a teenager to refrain from the heavy use of marijuana. In fact, it’s a good idea for any user to refrain from the heavy, daily, and dependent use of any substance if it can be avoided.
There are sometimes benefits to the regular use of the substance, though, as you’ll see in the next section.
Positive Long-Term Effects of Marijuana
It’s possible that users can actually benefit from smoking pot. But again, there is not enough research to quantify arguments either way. The suggestion is based on recent studies that suggest a positive correlation when smoking pot for health reasons.
For example, the use of marijuana has shown to be a much better maid medication than opiates for many reasons. Opiates cause physical side effects that marijuana does not, such as heavy mood swings or a more serious physical dependency.
Not to mention the positive correlation reducing symptoms of serious brain disorders as mentioned above, long-term marijuana use could be linked to prevention of epileptic seizures.
Again, remember that there still needs to be a lot more research to truly map out whether or not the use of marijuana is recommended or not. With the substance becoming more and more socially and legally accepted, though, odds are that it is at least a better alternative to some fabricated medicines.
Cannabis and Reducing Stress
Probably the most significant long-term benefit of smoking pot is the reduction of stress.
Stress leads to a wide and varying range of health issues – both physically and mentally. It can lead to ulcers, indigestion, anxiety, depression, and many other things.
Stress actually re-wires the brain over a long period of time. Which is difficult to pinpoint as a factor in many health issues. Nevertheless, medical professionals agree that any kind of reduction of stress is more beneficial than negative for a patient.
Users of marijuana know that the plant can reduce the effects of high-stress levels significantly. Note that it does not remove stress from the user. It only reduces the potentially serious symptoms.
Does Smoking Pot Really Kill Brain Cells?
While there are still many studies that need to be done about the use of marijuana. It seems as though the odds are in its favor as of now. Since there are still so many in society and the government opposed to the substance, it might be some time before we gather all of the positive evidence about it.
Nevertheless, we can be sure of one thing. Smoking pot does not kill brain cells – especially compared to alcohol, which is a proven brain cell killer.
The health benefits of the plant seem to outweigh any potential side effects. As long as the user monitors his or her habit to prevent a serious dependency.
We know all about how cannabis can be a beneficial addition to your lifestyle. If you want to learn more about the substance, check out our blog for plenty of accurate information about smoking pot.