And so I'm always a little bothered whenever I read of a general research study and see commenters dogging the study; insisting that there are many "real" problems in this world we need to solve before tackling the theoretical stuff. I mean, yeah, solving "real" problems is nice, but there are lots of worthy studies we should be doing even if we have other issues to worry about.
And then there are studies like this one:Chronic Pot Smoking Affects Brain Chemistry, Scans Show
And first off, any study involving research on "chronic" pot smokers is bound to be a doozy; like one I covered before, which warned of the dangers of pot-smoking based upon people who said they smoked between 75 to 350 joints a week. And yeah, that's typical usage...if you're the prop man for a Cheech & Chong movie. I mean jesus, smoking fifty joints in a week would be quite high; forget about fifty every day.
Novel Treatment for Cannabis Abuse: Stop Smoking Cannabis
But this new study is possibly worse, as it sounds scary, until you read the article. Basically, they scanned the brains of 30 people who smoke pot every day and found that over a month's time their cannabinoid CB1 receptors decreased by 20% compared with people who don't smoke at all. And after they quit smoking for a month, they got better. That's it. That's the whole story. Marijuana affects your brain, and when you quit using it, you get better. That's not my take on it, that's what the researchers claim.
Here's the money quote, from the second to the last paragraph:
"This information may prove critical for the development of novel treatments for cannabis abuse. Furthermore, this research shows that the decreased receptors in people who abuse cannabis return to normal when they stop smoking the drug," Hirvonen added.And what? I mean, I had assumed from the headline and most of the article that they were trying to warn us of permanent damage. But no. Temporary damage, even to people who smoke every day for a month, and then you go back to normal. Oooh, scary.
And seriously, who's to say this temporary damage is a bad thing? Permanently feeling stupid, crazy, or wacko is a bad thing. Temporarily, can be a learning experience. Because sometimes it's a good idea to be a little stupid. To see things how they aren't necessarily. To experience something out of the norm and see things from a perspective you wouldn't otherwise have experienced. Just as long as it's not permanent, what's the problem?
And really, my headline got it just about right. Because we know that pot affects your brain. I mean, that's kind of the point, isn't it? And again, as long as you're not permanently damaging yourself, like the way people do when they drink too much or smoke cigarettes or over eat, what's the problem? I mean, you do heroin once or twice and you're screwed for life. But apparently, the "cure" for cannabis abuse is to stop smoking cannabis. Thanks for the tip, Dr. Hirvonen. I could never have figured that one out on my own.
And for as much as they're trying to present this story as being a warning to pot smokers, it seems obvious that the correct message is: It's ok to smoke pot, just don't make a habit of it. And that's the sort of advice people really need to hear. Just as it is with everything else in life, it's all about moderation. No one ever died from smoking too much pot, but that doesn't mean you should live that way.