Have you ever thought your brain worked like a philharmonic orchestra? Well, it does, and smoking spliffs makes it schizophrenic. Or, as researchers like to put it: ‘disorchestrated.’
According to a new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, smoking marijuana numbs the brain, “leading to neurophysiological and behavioural impairments reminiscent of those seen in schizophrenia.”
Using musical terms, it would be like the strings (the hippocampus) – and the woodwinds (the prefrontal cortex) play out of sync. The findings show that the drug completely disrupts coordinated waves across those two brain sections, which are in charge of controlling memory and social behaviour.
“Schizophrenic patients suffer memory losses and decision-making issues,” said Dr Matt Jones of Bristol’s University School of Physiology and Pharmacology and the study’s lead author. “If you sit on the sofa smoking a spliff, it’s fine. But if you sit in a car and have to drive, then it is dangerous.”
So how could your brain tune back after smoking a joint? According to Jones, you just have to wait it out. “We focused only on short-term effects. You have to wait for a few hours until marijuana is out of the system,” he said.
While Jones confirms there is no scientific evidence of marijuana-related neurological damage from long term use, he does warn against “the effects on vulnerable people like teenagers, whose brains are developing, or people genetically at risk to develop schizophrenia.”
However, Franjo Grotenhermen, executive director at the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines (IACM), still thinks of cannabis as a medical drug like those we can easily buy at a pharmacy.
“When dealing with marijuana, people need to do a cost-benefit analysis just like they do with any other drug,” Grotenhermen explained to Metro.
“Cannabis helps in curing severe diseases and relieves people from chronic pains. Of course it has side effects, but do we want to talk about chemotherapy for cancer?”