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Very Heavy Pot Use Clouds Mental Function: Study
Yahoo News ^ | 11/29/02 | Very Heavy Pot Use Clouds Mental Function: Study

Posted on 11/29/2002 2:18:13 PM PST by Libloather

Very Heavy Pot Use Clouds Mental Function: Study
1 hour, 58 minutes ago
By Dana Frisch

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People who smoked unusually large amounts of marijuana performed worse on tests of mental function than their peers who smoked less pot, even after a 30-day abstinence period, according to a new report.

Heavy users performed worse on 69% of the 35 tasks than light users, though their performances were not "clinically abnormal," the researchers found. The 22 participants were admitted to hospital during the course of the study and submitted to random urine tests to ensure they remained abstinent.

Lead author Dr. Karen Bolla characterized the study group as being "unusual" because of the large number of joints they smoked per week. Heavy users smoked on average 91 joints a week, or about 13 a day, while light smokers smoked an average of 11 marijuana cigarettes a week.

Bolla, who is an associate professor of neurology and psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, said the results cannot be generalized to social smokers or those who use pot for medicinal purposes, because they smoke far less marijuana. The potency might also differ, she said.

"What this study shows is that marijuana can be neurotoxic if you smoke a lot of it," Bolla told Reuters Health. She said this is particularly concerning since the average age of study participants was 22 years old, and the brain is still developing at that age. "You're putting a lot of foreign stuff in there that we don't really know what it does to a developing brain," she said.

The study, published in the November issue of the journal Neurology, found that the mental functions most severely impacted were memory, executive function (overall reasoning and functioning) and manual dexterity.

Bolla writes that these tasks in particular were affected because they are controlled by the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex and cerebellum. These brain areas are densely populated with cannabinoid receptors that attach to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

In mice, excessive marijuana use might damage parts of the brain and "knock out certain kinds of neurons," said Bolla. This can lead to receptors in the brain being over-stimulated or under-stimulated, changing their response to chemical messengers in the brain, similar to what might result from a brain injury.

Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in the US. An estimated 7 million people use marijuana weekly, according to 2000 data from the US Department of Health and Human Services.

This is only the second study to examine the residual effects of marijuana use after more than a couple of days of abstinence. Dr. Harrison Pope Jr., a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of the other study, found no difference in performance on cognitive tests between heavy marijuana users and "control" subjects.

Pope said in an interview that his "hunch" was that the difference between his results and Bolla's were the "sheer intensity" of marijuana use among the participants in Bolla's study. Heavy users in Pope's study smoked on average 1 or 1.5 joints over the course of a day.

According to Pope, people who smoke a lot of marijuana and start earlier will do worse on tests of mental function. Whether the toxicity of the drug itself is responsible, or factors like being in school less and being unfamiliar with testing or being more impaired initially and turning to pot for that reason, is difficult to know, he added.

SOURCE: Neurology 2002;59:1337-1343.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News
KEYWORDS: antipotconspiracy; brownshirts; dudeilostmybong; dumembers; function; ganja; getdumb; heavy; jbtsonparade; libertines; lpvoters; mental; potuseclouds; stonerssuck; study
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To: Johnny Shear
I had no idea that 1 1/2 joints a day was "light smoking." Cool.
51 posted on 11/29/2002 3:37:54 PM PST by stands2reason
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To: wardaddy
Maybe the clarity of which you speak is root cause for the high rates of recidivism? In any case, whatever ills heavy marijuana use is alleged to cause, I don't see that incarceration results in improvement.
52 posted on 11/29/2002 3:38:29 PM PST by coloradan
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To: Leto
BTW wonder what the result would be if the subjects drank 91 sixpacks a week, or 21 bottles of Jack Daniels per week?

Chelsea Clinton.

53 posted on 11/29/2002 3:39:26 PM PST by CWRWinger
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To: CWRWinger
Is marijuana addictive?

Some would say it is. I don't think so.

Are there any withdrawl problems going cold turkey?

No. I've done it numerous times.

Is it easier to quit than smoking?

YES! YES!! YES!!! NO comparison!

54 posted on 11/29/2002 3:40:53 PM PST by Johnny Shear
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To: Leto
Well, if he drank 91 gallons of water of week he'd be dead...a reason to be thankful it's only pot.
55 posted on 11/29/2002 3:41:17 PM PST by Lady Jag
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To: wardaddy
Mexican's still Mexican....but then there's B.C. bud (British Columbia)...hoo boy.....
56 posted on 11/29/2002 3:43:28 PM PST by stands2reason
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To: Johnny Shear
Hhmmm. You stated it's not addictive, but you've gone "cold turkey" on it several times. Which means you got off it and then started again.

Did you go back to it for social reasons or was it mildly addictive physically or psychologically? Thanks for the feedback.

57 posted on 11/29/2002 3:47:28 PM PST by CWRWinger
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To: Johnny Shear
I used to know a guy that bought a bag every week and rolled it all up and allotted four joints per day. One before work, one at lunch, one on the way home and one after dinner. Maybe a couple more in the evening or on the weekends or if company came by. None of these joints was smoked by himself, all were shared. But 13 per day by yourself? I think acedemia clouds mental ability more than any drug could.

P.S. This guy was a very good carpenter, worked fast and was also a foreman.

58 posted on 11/29/2002 3:48:36 PM PST by u-89
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To: Libloather
What are they going to discover next , that heavy use of booze causes the DTs and liver damage ?
59 posted on 11/29/2002 3:49:33 PM PST by uncbob
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To: Libloather
I forgot what I was gonna say....

60 posted on 11/29/2002 3:50:55 PM PST by Fintan
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To: CWRWinger
Did you go back to it for social reasons or was it mildly addictive physically or psychologically?

I quit to pass drug tests. (Actually I've never had to take one...I just quit IN CASE I had to take one during the process of changing jobs.)

And it might be a bit addictive psychologically. Definately not physically, though.

61 posted on 11/29/2002 3:57:45 PM PST by Johnny Shear
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To: Johnny Shear; wardaddy
Damn I remember those days in spite of myself & man that was some really raspby dirt so help me . Actually getting stationed in Hawaii @ 17 years young was the beginning of my digression of consumption .

The superior quality required MUCH less to achieve the desired level and then of course the responsibilities had kicked in at the same time . It was a win ~ win . I've burned 2-3 fatties in the last 21 years .

It is for me a nice reminder why I quit .

62 posted on 11/29/2002 4:02:46 PM PST by Ben Bolt
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To: Fintan
QUIT PICKING ON ME!
63 posted on 11/29/2002 4:03:48 PM PST by ofMagog
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To: stands2reason
You are SOO busted ;) . Not really ... I have some close friends up in B.C. and no matter what time of the year I call them it always seem's to be 20 below or 30 degrees .

That grade must be that hypo stuff that was mentioned in an earlier reply . I know that there has been some rather creative innovations over the years to avoid the FedGov .

64 posted on 11/29/2002 4:10:19 PM PST by Ben Bolt
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To: CWRWinger
"Chelsea Clinton."

<p.LOL!! Much as I hate to poke fun at the offspring of Hitlery and ...well... Bill, I certainly enjoyed that.
65 posted on 11/29/2002 5:06:55 PM PST by meyer
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To: Johnny Shear
"Is it easier to quit than smoking?"

YES! YES!! YES!!! NO comparison!

I agree. I've quit both. Pot was easy, cigarettes weren't. And, I have quit cigarettes a few times just to make sure it was hard to do. :^)

66 posted on 11/29/2002 5:10:06 PM PST by meyer
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To: coloradan
I was speaking of prison not pot. For the record, although I'm anti-objectitivist, I don't think folks should go to jail for pot...in fact my own experience has demonstrated to me that pot is a lesser evil than alcohol.
67 posted on 11/29/2002 5:17:39 PM PST by wardaddy
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To: stands2reason
Some of the Mexican I've observed recently reminds me of early jamaican low grade semi-sense from the 70s.
68 posted on 11/29/2002 5:19:01 PM PST by wardaddy
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To: dorben
It is for me a nice reminder why I quit .

Ditto as they say.

69 posted on 11/29/2002 5:20:17 PM PST by wardaddy
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To: Libloather
" People who smoked unusually large amounts of marijuana performed worse on tests of mental function than their peers who smoked less pot"

Wow,this is groundbreaking information here..............
70 posted on 11/29/2002 6:02:01 PM PST by Rocksalt
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To: Libloather
Story Poster Boy: Albert Gore
71 posted on 11/29/2002 6:18:18 PM PST by AmericaUnited
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To: Libloather
Huh? I mean this is like so BS, because like... what were talking about? Oh, just give me another hit so I can finish my calculus project.
72 posted on 11/29/2002 6:23:17 PM PST by Labyrinthos
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To: CWRWinger
It's much easier to quit than cigarettes. They say the reason is it stores up in your fat cells, so it gets out of your system very gradually. Some people feel mildly irritated for a week or so, but generally it's not nearly as bad as stopping smoking cigarettes. It does seem to take a couple of months for the head to totally clear out.
73 posted on 11/29/2002 6:35:00 PM PST by DBtoo
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To: Libloather
Thanx for posting this thread. This always serves to make my point that some conservatives need the government to protect themselves from their own stupidity; while those who believe so try to ridicule those who believe in individual resposnibility.

Why keep providing evidence of your ignorance?

74 posted on 11/29/2002 6:41:39 PM PST by breakem
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To: wardaddy
I agree. I don't think people should go to prison for pot. I think they have the wrong drug legalized as alcohol is so much more destructive, physically, mentally, and socially. Marijuana doesn't make people go crazy like alcohol often does. And it's not nearly as toxic.
75 posted on 11/29/2002 6:46:32 PM PST by DBtoo
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To: Rocksalt
No it really is not .. Just some of us grown people sharing something in public . Other's here might want to cut out our very own tongues . : snicker :
76 posted on 11/29/2002 6:50:57 PM PST by Ben Bolt
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To: Glenn
In other news - Alcoholics make poor Gymnasts.
77 posted on 11/29/2002 7:45:24 PM PST by DAnconia55
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To: breakem
...to protect themselves from their own stupidity...

Sounds like you've fully accepted Liberteen lunacy. That's your problem - not mine...

78 posted on 11/29/2002 8:31:22 PM PST by Libloather
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To: ALOHA RONNIE
Me and my old lady
Both like to step outside
But sometimes people space us out
So we just get up and leave.

--A poetry interlude.

79 posted on 11/29/2002 8:48:27 PM PST by Tribune7
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To: Libloather
This link might be solid evidence supporting this study.
80 posted on 11/29/2002 8:51:57 PM PST by Tribune7
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To: Libloather
No sh*t, Sherlock!
81 posted on 11/29/2002 8:54:01 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: stands2reason
I had no idea that 1 1/2 joints a day was "light smoking." Cool.

Depends on the size of the joint I guess.


82 posted on 11/29/2002 9:01:10 PM PST by FreedomCalls
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To: DBtoo
The most common danger in chronic pot use I've seen are laziness, procrastination, apathy and a dulling of intellect. Not too pretty but not as bad as alcoholism to be sure.
83 posted on 11/29/2002 9:34:57 PM PST by wardaddy
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To: Libloather
I don't what "liberteen lunacy" means. Seems like you have made up a cute little phrase to hide the fact that you need the government to keep you, your family, or your neighbors from getting high. I might say it is working very well.

LOL! May I assume you call yourself a conservative?

84 posted on 11/29/2002 10:26:51 PM PST by breakem
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Comment #85 Removed by Moderator

To: DAnconia55
So what's the point here? Light smokers had no problems, and even the heaviest of users were not in the "clinically abnormal" range. And for this we're arresting people?
86 posted on 11/30/2002 7:53:04 AM PST by Wolfie
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To: Libloather
"or being more impaired initially and turning to pot for that reason"

I'm voting for this one.

87 posted on 11/30/2002 10:49:56 AM PST by robertpaulsen
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To: Johnny Shear; stands2reason; Bob Quixote
There are those on this board who say that marijuana can be used to alleviate the symptoms of glaucoma. Given the short term effect of marijuana, that would mean smoking 10-11 joints per day, every day.
88 posted on 11/30/2002 10:57:29 AM PST by robertpaulsen
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To: jmc813
Sounds to me as if desperation is setting in.
Got to tell more scary campfire stories to keep the kid's heads under the blanket.
Heavy users performed worse on 69% of the 35 tasks than light users, though their performances were not "clinically abnormal," the researchers found.
Think about it...their performances were not "clinically abnormal"!
In other words, sober people had to have done just as poorly as the heavy stoners for this comparison to be made!
What was their excuse, sheer stupidity?
89 posted on 12/01/2002 4:24:05 AM PST by philman_36
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To: Torie
Just because you can't, doesn't mean that others can't.
90 posted on 12/02/2002 9:17:12 AM PST by jayef
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