A recent study that has come out of the University of Western Ontario shows that the negative effects of marijuana on a adolescents brain can be reversed.
Many parents major concern is that teens that smoke a lot of weed will basically fry their brains. This fear was supported by the previous belief that overexposure to the chemical THC would reduce the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain. Ultimately, repeated chronic use of weed could result in psychiatric diseases like schizophrenia, or mood disorders like bi-polar disease.
The recent study that the University of Western Ontario published says otherwise. This study was funded by the Schulich School of Medicine, and spearheaded by Professor Steven Laviolette, who belongs to the faculty of Dentistry.
Laviolette states that “pharmaceuticals can be used to boost activity in the GABA neurotransmitter so that it reverses behavioral changes that could happen later in life”
Basically, these researchers attempted to restore the GABA system by using different methods to activate the GABA receptors. The GABA receptors they focused on were directly in the prefrontal cortex.
By doing this, the researchers restored the system and thus, reversed the effects of the psychiatric diseases that prolonged weed use caused. The patients they did this on were users that started young and continued late into adult-hood.
“It suggests that someone that is suffering from these sorts of symptoms, if we can get into reverse these deficits in the GABA system, we can reverse some of these symptoms. ”
However, it is important to note that these users were purchasing weed from the street- not administered or monitored by health care professionals. Laviolette states that the high levels of THC that they were testing are the levels often found on the street or black market.
He goes on to state that illegal weed is “very concerning from a mental health perspective because it’s really these high levels of THC that’s causing the problems.”
He warns against young people using illegal weed because it exposes their developing brains to unmonitored amounts of THC.
However, this study is still important in regards to the legalization of medical marijuana because, as he states, “What this could mean is that if you are going to be using marijuana, in a recreational or medicinal way, you can potentially combine it with compounds that boost GABA to block the negative effects of THC.”
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