Thursday, June 09, 2011

New Study from Duh Magazine: Pot Affects Your Brain

I don't have a problem with pure research.  You know, the stuff they do that doesn't have a specific goal, but can be added to our general knowledge and hopefully be of great value some day.  In fact, I'm of the general opinion that the best answers are the ones you weren't even looking for, and I would definitely like to see more pure research done in this country.  Truth isn't always profitable, but that doesn't mean we should neglect it.

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.


mahakal said...

As habits go, this one reduces the odds of developing alzheimer's, parkinson's or other diseases of aging.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Yes, and it also increases the odds of becoming stupid, lazy, and crazy if you use it all the time.

Pot helps because it takes the edge off and puts life in perspective. Too much, and you lose your edge completely and can no longer see life in the normal perspective. I suspect this is the sort of result this study is showing. Fortunately, this effect is reversible, but it takes time for your brain to rebuild. And since pot isn't addictive, that's not really a problem; unless the user refuses to see the problem.

Water and oxygen can kill you, if you get too much of them. That doesn't make them bad things, obviously. It only demonstrates that you can get too much of even beneficial things.

Everything in moderation.

mahakal said...

"Yes, and it also increases the odds of becoming stupid, lazy, and crazy if you use it all the time."

No it doesn't, fool.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Yes it does, fool.

(Wow, we really got somewhere with this bit of discussion, didn't we. Idiot.)

mahakal said...

Fuck you. :P