One of the common claims made by anti-marijuana advocates is that cannabis use is dangerous to people’s brains. But according to a new study, they should be focusing their anger more on breweries than dispensaries.
Researchers at the University of Colorado-Boulder recently published a study that alcohol use leads to long-term negative effects in a person’s brain. Marijuana use, on the other hand, did not produce those same effects. The scientists compared how both substances affected a person’s white and gray matter in the brain. Gray matter is the tissue on the brain that consists of nerve cell bodies, while white matter contains nerve cell fibers. Losing either can result in impaired brain functioning.
The scientists looked at over 800 brain images from adults and over 400 images from teenagers who used various amounts of marijuana and alcohol. According to the scientists, alcohol use, particularly over a long period of time, led to a reduction in gray matter volume, and also a decrease in white matter integrity. However, marijuana use seemed to have no effect on white or gray matter.
In short, alcohol use contributes more to impaired brain functioning than marijuana.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that marijuana is necessarily 100 percent safe for the brain. The scientists said more research needs to be done in that area. But it certainly provides more evidence, once again, that alcohol is worse for a person’s health than marijuana.