After a recent study appeared to suggest that smoking high-strength cannabis such as skunk may damage your brain, the NHS have pointed out that the statistics may have been misinterpreted.
Last week, the study, by the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, found that smoking high-strength weed may damage the nerves that send messages between the two halves of the brain, making it less efficient.
However, the NHS are keen to point out that turning this into simplistic headlines like “Scientists warn smoking ‘skunk’ cannabis wrecks brains”, like The Sun did (there’s a shock) is extremely misleading.
Essentially, The Sun have once again oversimplified a very complex issue.
According to the Metro, the NHS said:
What this study doesn’t tell us is whether these structural changes do any harm or cause any negative mental health effects – which is why The Sun’s headline is too strong. The study simply didn’t look at this. Researchers used MRI scanners to scan the brains of 99 adults – some with psychosis, some without – looking for any links between small changes in their brain structure and their cannabis habits.
They found users of skunk – as well as those who used any type of cannabis on a daily basis – had different structural changes in the corpus callosum, compared with those who smoked less or lower-strength strains. The effects of cannabis use – both in the short and longer term – are not firmly established.
It should be noted too that one of the neurobiologists involved in the study, Paola Dazzan, stated that the study couldn’t state for definite whether the high levels of THC in marijuana caused the damage, and noted “it is possible that these people already have a different brain and they are more likely to use cannabis”.
There’s also a heck of a lot of proven health benefits of smoking marijuana too, you know, so maybe certain anti-drug publications might want to consider those in the future?