A new study carried out by researchers at King’s College London has found that smoking super-strength cannabis can cause significant brain damage.
The skunk variant of marijuana was found to damage the corpus callosum - the part of the brain which carries signals between the left and right sides of the brain. This is known to lead to an increased risk of mental illness and psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and slowed down brain activity.
There is constant debate surrounding marijuana and its safety but scientists have said the concern is that there are now significantly higher levels of the harmful chemical Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in skunk that there was ten years ago.
Dr Paola Dazzan from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at KCL commented:
“We found that frequent use of high potency cannabis significantly affects the structure of white matter fibres in the brain, whether you have psychosis or not. This reflects a sliding scale where the more cannabis you smoke and the higher the potency, the worse the damage will be.”
The researchers of the study said that the findings show an ‘urgent need’ to educate the public about the dangers of repeated high-potency cannabis use. Currently, cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug in the UK and last year a survey found that almost as many teenagers smoke marijuana as cigarettes.
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