Besides known facts like pot makes Hot Pockets look edible, we’re still learning how marijuana impacts our bodies. More scientific studies are emerging on the matter, however, including one that appeared in the journalJAMA Psychiatry this week suggesting that casual cannabis use may not have as profound an effect on some parts of the brain as prior neuroimaging studies have concluded.
The study, published Wednesday, looked at data from 483 people who were also siblings, including pairs of twins between the ages of 22 and 35. Researchers broke the subjects up into three groups: pairs of siblings who had tried marijuana, pairs who had never tried it and pairs where one had tried it. Participants’ data came from the Human Connectome Project, a project funded by the National Institutes of Health that collects data on the human brain for use in scientific research.
The data showed that those who had been exposed to marijuana did show shrinkage in certain parts of the brain, such as the left amygdala, which serves as the “integrative center for emotions, emotional behavior and motivation,” in the words of the University of Texas Health Science Center’s Neuroscience Online website.
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