Marijuana is good for your brain?

The article, High Times for Brain Growth: Marijuana-like drug multiplies neurons, by Christen Brownlee and located in Science News suggests that a drug called HU210 induces neuronal growth. While HU210 isn't the same as pot, it does affect the same receptors in the brain--and at 100 times the potency. What makes this particularly puzzling vis a vis marijuana is that one does of HU210 doesn't do any good, it takes regularly repeated doses over time.

I know several people that use pot regularly. I just don't see any way on Earth that repeated doses of pot are helping the brain any. The term "baked" is used for good reason. Habitual pot users have serious brain difficulties!

The lead paragraph of the article follows:

In the stoner stereotype, pot smokers and dying brain cells go hand in hand. However, new research suggests the situation may be more uplifting than that. A drug that functions as concentrated marijuana does may spur neurogenesis, the process by which the brain gives birth to new nerve cells.

Now I'd have to conclude that something else is going on here. Even though HU210 affects the same receptors, I don't think that pot and HU210 are equal in stimulating neuronal growth.

Hell, if people start using pot to become smarter the world might really become... interesting. Can you imagine if the average fast food cashier was running a company or directing airplane traffic? On the other hand, this would explain some of George W's thoughts, beliefs, and activities...

That movie scenario in Planet of the Apesof chimps taking over the world might really come about should this idea of taking marijuana for greater intelligence become popular. I admit it'd be a long ways off. Even stoners can hold society together for a little while--at least until they get the munchies.

Maybe terminal munchies explains why Charleton Heston is chewing on a chimpanzee over there to the left. They never did explain why people lost their intelligence in that movie...

Comments

I have absolutely no problems with marijuana, or with it becoming legal. However, with that being said, I also have to say that I can't smoke it. Why? Because with the medication I'm on, Seroquel and Lexapro, if I smoke pot, it literally causes a psychotic break. How do I know this? Well, I tried it. And let me tell you, it's not fun :( I had no ill effects smoking pot before my medications (but that was about 10 years ago), but with the anti-psychotics I'm on, it literally causes me to go Charles Manson on everyone.

So for the safety of myself and everyone around me, I don't smoke pot. I did some research on the internet, and almost every scientific study says that the THC in marijuana can cause psychotic episodes in those already susceptable to psychotic breaks and in some cases can actually trigger schizophrenia.

That being said, with my paranoid schizophrenia, it's not a very good idea to smoke pot. But does the average paranoid schizophrenic have the reasoning power to make that decision?? And would you want to see a paranoid schizophrenic get *extra* paranoid on weed?
Michelle said…
What a load #@$%. I reckon the researchers were smoking it whilst performing their so called research.
I personally know 5 male users of the stuff. All range in age between 40 to 50. I went to school with all of them. All were very intelligent men, one a mathematician, another a manager of a diamnond mine,another an investment baker, an electronics engineer and a high school teacher.
They all began use "dope" on a daily basis in their early 20s. To cut a long story short.....everyone of them now has no job, all live at home with mum and dad because they have no money, one is a diagnosed schizophrenic (not diagnosed till 35) who incidently chopped his fingers off. One fellows teeth have all fallen out, none are healthy men and all Still continue to use.
In my line of work i see so many men and one woman who have been involved in violent psychotic rages and the damage they've done to people.
Nobody will ever convince me "dope" is harmless.
kenju said…
I saw Planet of the Apes, but I sure don't remember that scene. ICK!
stranger said…
hmm... methinks you're too quick to judge pot smokers... they're not all stoners, and consequently, not all "baked" either.

i know as an undergrad, i smoked daily (several times a day, actually), but not to excess, and i graduated with a 3.96 - often i even got high before class *specifically* because it slowed my brain down from it's typical "thinking of 85 things at once and about to explode" mode to a calmer mood in which i could actually focus and understand the material (which in philosophy classes is never easy).

i wouldn't find it hard at all to believe that pot has some good properties for the brain - but like anything else it's all about moderation. smoking too much, of course, will make you a retard. just like drinking too much will kill you, but a glass of wine every night is good for the heart.

just my thoughts ;)

(and no, i don't smoke anymore)
Teresa said…
Stephanie has a point... I've never considered pot a brain deadening drug, but more of an enhancement. It seems to magnify what is already there and though the stereotype of a pothead says different, I've honestly not witnessed any lasting affects. Not so with other drugs. There are a lot of drugs out there that even short term use causes brain alterations. So, perhaps "potheads" have used other drugs that are giving them a bad name?

Of course, I'm drug-sensitive so have no real experience with this except as an observer.
Well, I certainly didn't mean that my experience was the "usual" one, in fact it isn't. My husband can smoke pot with absolutley no ill effects at all (besides a little short term memory loss). But I did want to point out that for some people it actually can be harmful, especially those people with any psychotic types of mental illness.

Michelle, you really are too quick to judge *all* pot smokers like that. Just like any other drug, including nicotine, alcohol, or anything else - it will affect people differently. Does every cigarette smoker get lung cancer? Nope, just like all potheads don't all react the same. It has to do with the persons personality, the type of pot being smoked (there are a ton of different varieties that can vary from very weak to VERY strong effects), and how often they smoke it. Obviously if you smoke weed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you aren't going to be a very productive individual. That being said, those people might be better off looking into what's causing them to smoke pot like that.

A person who smokes pot recreationally, that is to say, every now and then and not continuously, who doesn't have serious mental illness, and is otherwise a very responsible individual, would not be affected in a negative way from the activity.

My point is, just like not all alcohol drinkers are raging alcoholics, not all pot smokers are drugged up potheads. Just a thought ;)

Teresa, you are very correct in that - mixing drugs of any kind can produce completely different results. I experimented A LOT with drugs when I was a teenager (though I no longer continue to do so), and I can tell you that mixing any combination of drugs together will produce wide and varied results, ranging from really good to 'holy #%^@ let's not do that again'. If a pot smoker smokes a little weed then snorts coke, he's going to be a very different individual than if he had just smoked the weed.
utenzi said…
LOL I see marijuana brings out some strong opinions. Obviously Michelle has experiences in her past that move her views strongly in one direction. Personally I've not really had any direct knowledge of pot use until just very recently and doubt I'd ever use it myself. Maybe cancer would push me in that direction but *knock on wood* I hope that situation never arises!

Seeing some people who do use it frequently makes me believe Stephanie since one of them was falsely diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic though when he saw a more senior staffer the next day he was quickly switched to a disnosis of "pot paranoia". Stephanie also makes a good point that there's all manner of pot users, from very casual to serious addicts. I've never thought that pot should be illegal though recent experience certainly shows me that it should be controlled!

All of this goes outside the perview of the article I was quoting tho...
What an interesting discusion...and one that has as many questions as answers!! (lol)
I have smoked pot but not for many many MANY years and I didn't smoke it that much to begin with...
AS far as problems from smoking pot I yhink their can be a lot, depending on ALL the factors already mentioned by everyone...AND, maybe not everybody that smoked cigaretes doesn't get Cancer,,,but, the percentage of people who smoked or smoked and Emphasema is extremely high!!! Almost everyone I know who use to smoke years and years ago, has some amount of Emphasema in their lungs...And people who smake pot ALL the time and have for years and years are ceryainly subject to Emphasema, too...I know this has nothing to do with that article Utenzi and I'm sorry I am off the subject, but...

And, I'm here Via Michele this A.M. and I LOVE a lively discussion!! YEAH!

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