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Smoking high-potency marijuana could cause neural damage: Study

Smoking high-potency marijuana could cause neural damage: Study - Researchers at Kings College London have discovered that smokers of high-potency marijuana had smaller amounts of white brain matter inside their corpus callosum, a neural pathway joining the left and right halves of the brain.

Scientists carried out MRI scans on the brains of 56 patients who had visited a London hospital reporting a first episode of psychosis. The brains of 43 healthy participants were also tested. All the subjects were surveyed about their drug habits.

Paola Dazzan, a neurobiologist at Kings College said in a press release, "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."

Researchers say their new findings, published this week in the journal Psychological Medicine, provide evidence that healthcare workers need to pay greater attention to the type of marijuana patients are using.

Dazzan said, "As we have suggested previously, when assessing cannabis use it is extremely important to gather information on how often and what type of cannabis is being used. These details can help quantify the risk of mental health problems and increase awareness on the type of damage these substances can do to the brain."

Previous studies have found a connection between instances of psychosis and high-potency marijuana use.