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Archive for Thursday, December 1, 2005

Brains of schizophrenics, pot users look similar

December 1, 2005

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A teenage brain on pot looks frighteningly similar to the brains of adolescents with schizophrenia, according to a new study.

While it's too early to prove a connection, researchers at North Shore University Hospital-Long Island Jewish Healthcare System caution that marijuana could be a match that ignites an underlying genetic vulnerability to schizophrenia.

Scientists have long debated whether drug abuse triggers schizophrenia, which in males usually appears in late adolescence, or whether the illness itself can lead to drug abuse.

"It is the story of nature vs. nurture," said Manzar Ashtari, an associate professor in radiology and psychiatry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a scientist at LIJ's Zucker Hillside Hospital. "If there are people who are vulnerable and smoke marijuana, they may be putting themselves at greater risk for developing severe mental illness."

Robert L. Balster, an endowed professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Virginia Commonwealth University, said that while more research is needed, "studies such as this are very important in providing new leads for possible brain mechanisms that could be involved in drug abuse and its frequent association with mental illness."

The studies at Zucker Hillside were done only in males because females tend to develop schizophrenia later, in their mid-20s and beyond. Ashtari suspects the developing brain in late adolescence is at greater risk of environmental damage.

Comments

Ragingbear 9 years ago

Oh gee.. If this isn't a slanted "discovery.".

What exactly are they looking at? The color, texture? Some brain graph that looks "Suprisingly" like that of a normal person? It upsets me when I see such a repot issued that has such an obvios taint. I am not saying marijauna is something good. In fact, I think it can be just as destructive as alchohol or any other substance. But I also think that there is more to it than that, and the obvios effects on the brain, as well as over 250 different varieties of THC found in it could ultimately lead to next-generation psychotropic medications.

From first hand experience, I can tell you this in regards to pot and schizophrenics. It will make a shizophrenic worse. They will get paranoid, delusions will get amplified, and it will give them more energy. Interestingly enough, crack, which wires other people, mellows them down,and will all but completely suppress their schizophrenia for the duration.

Now is it any wonder why the mentally ill homeless have such a crack problem? There may be triggering factors, then again there may not be. But biased studies like this only serve to perpetuate the... Hey Fritos!

andyk 9 years ago

WAH??? NO!!! I'm going to quit smoking pot right now! But really. This isn't really much of a discovery. I've heard of this for a long time. It's pretty obvious that marijuana effects the brain like schizphrenia does, many of the effects are the same. I know people that totally freak out when they're high. Does that mean they do/will have schizphrenia, proly not. I believe I read this study a few weeks ago when it was first published. One of the main patients was a chronic user for 30 or 40 some years, who said he smoked 20 to 50 cones a day. For those who don't know how much that is, that would be in the far upper extreme of abusers. Of course someone who smokes that much is going to have some mental problems. Why aren't there any studies on heavy cigarette users. While cigarettes may not cause any mental illness' besides addiction, it would be interesting to see what it does to the brain. And what is drug abuse for marijuana. Many abuse clinics describe marijuana abuse/addiction as just being a standard pothead (always thinking/worring about funding/where to find pot, prioritizing it). Addiction would be an inaibility to be normal without the drug. While it does become a habit, (the strong desire to do it) I don't see where most users qualify as an addict. While I haven't been using marijuana for many years, I've done it long enough to fit the description of an addict. I've been using it nearly every day for a while now. I'm going to see how quitting for half a month is. According to addiction I won't be able to do that. I'll see how that goes. And now for the anti pot comments that follow on nearly every ljworld page having to do with pot.

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