Cannabis News: Marijuana Use Affects Alzheimer's Danger Zones, According To Study

First Posted: Nov 30, 2016 05:10 AM EST

A new study revealed how marijuana use affects the area of the brain responsible for memory functions.

Mail Online reported that there is an abnormally low blood flow in the brain's right hippocampus among marijuana users. As shown in the brain scans analyzed by researchers at Amen Clinics, these irregular blood levels were mostly found in areas affected by Alzheimer's disease.

For the study, researchers looked at a 1995-2015 database involving 26,268 patients with complex treatment-resistant issues from states California, Virginia, Georgia, Washington and New York. 1,000 of these patients were marijuana users, whose brain scans then compared to those of 100 healthy controls.

Using brain scans taken from single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) -- which analyzed the brain's blood flow and activity patterns as participants went through concentration tests -- researchers have discovered that there was a strong difference in the blood flow levels between both groups.

All marijuana users analyzed had significantly lower blood flow in the right hippocampus compared to the healthy control group.

The study, which was published in the latest issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, shows that marijuana use disrupts memory formation by obstructing activities on the right hippocampus.

"The most predictive region separating these two groups is low blood flow in the hippocampus on concentration brain SPECT imaging," said study's co-author Dr. Elisabeth Jorandby, who regularly deals with marijuana patients.

"This work suggests that marijuana use has damaging influences in the brain - particularly regions important in memory and learning and known to be affected by Alzheimer's," she added.

As the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana use continues to spread in the U.S., the researchers are hoping that this will serve as a warning to users and the government.

Aside from poor memory function, other reports suggest that marijuana use is also linked to bone fracture and drug dependency.

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