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'Skunk-Like' Cannabis Linked To Brain Damage

First Posted: Nov 27, 2015 02:42 PM EST
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Smoking high potency ‘skunk-like' cannabis is linked to brain damage, according to a recent study.

Researchers found damage to a crucial part of the brain that's responsible for communication between two brain hemispheres.

"This reflects a problem in the white matter that ultimately makes it less efficient," neurobiologist Paola Dazzan told The Guardian. "We don't know exactly what it means for the person, but it suggests there is a less efficient transfer of information."

Though previous research has suggested that long-term cannabis use increases the risk of psychosis, new findings suggests that alterations in brain function and structure may result in greater vulnerability.

During the study, they used two techniques for scanning, including MRI and DTI to examine the corpus callosum--otherwise known as the biggest part of white matter in the brain. Researchers looked at 56 patients who had a psychotic episode and 43 healthy volunteers.

Scans showed that daily users of high-potency cannabis had a slightly greater "mean diffusivity" in their corpus callosum, researchers say--"reflecting a problem in the white matter that ultimately makes it less efficient," according to Dazzan concluded.

The study is published in the journal Psychological Medicine.

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