Alcohol ‘more damaging to brain health than marijuana’

Scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder conducted a review of existing imaging data that looked at the effects of alcohol and marijuana, or cannabis, on the brain.The use of marijuana, however, seemed to have no significant long-term effects on brain structure.

Study leader Rachel Thayer, of the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder, and colleagues recently reported their results in the journal Addiction.

It is estimated that around 22.2 million people in the United States have used marijuana in the past month, making it “the most commonly used illicit drug” in the country.

Marijuana vs. alcohol: Which is worse?

For this latest study, Thayer and colleagues sought to learn more about how marijuana use affects the brain.

Study co-author Kent Hutchison, also of the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, notes that to date, studies that have investigated this association have produced mixed results.

“When you look at these studies going back years,” he explains, “you see that one study will report that marijuana use is related to a reduction in the volu

me of the hippocampus. The next study then comes around, and they say that marijuana use is related to changes in the cerebellum […].”

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