“Regular pot smokers have shrunken brains…” blares a Los Angeles Times headline about new findings regarding weed and the brain. Here’s how reporter Melissa Healy sets up the premise:
Experimental mice have been telling us this for years, but pot-smoking humans didn’t want to believe it could happen to them: Compared with a person who never smoked marijuana, someone who uses marijuana regularly has, on average, less gray matter in his orbital frontal cortex, a region that is a key node in the brain’s reward, motivation, decision-making and addictive behaviors network.
Sound terrible for pot smokers, no?
Actually no — for two reasons: 1) Although the brain does get smaller, it also has “higher functional and structural connectivity” according to the UK Independent. 2) The results of the study are ultimately inconclusive, writes Healy:
Even now, however, the authors of the study acknowledge that they cannot discern whether a pot smoker’s smaller orbital frontal cortex is the cause or the result of chronic marijuana use.
In other words: meh.
(Original image: pspoof)