A new study by Boston researchers is believed to be the first that shows that young adults who even occasionally smoke marijuana could be damaging their brains.
The study, just published in The Journal of Neuroscience, found abnormalities in areas of the brain related to emotion, motivation and decision-making.
The researchers say the degree of brain changes appeared to be directly related to how frequently the study's participants smoked pot.
The authors write in their paper:
The results of this study indicate that in young, recreational marijuana users, structural abnormalities in gray matter density, volume, and shape of the nucleus accumbens and amygdala can be observed. Pending confirmation in other cohorts of marijuana users, the present findings suggest that further study of marijuana effects are needed to help inform discussion about the legalization of marijuana.
The study comes with a plurality of Massachusetts residents supporting the legalization of marijuana for recreational use, and as the state is in the process of opening medical marijuana dispensaries.
Here & Now has more on the study this afternoon.
And hat-tip to The Boston Globe, which has more on the findings.