Long-Term Alcohol Use More Damaging to the Brain than Marijuana, Says Study
Marijuana vs. alcohol: in the future, one of these drugs may be thought of as dangerous, but not because of propaganda or social condemnation but actual science. Recent research shows that long-term alcohol use is more damaging to the brain than marijuana use.
Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder examined the brains of more than 1,000 individuals of varying ages. Thier findings were published in the journal Addiction, and point to alcohol as the more damaging of the two drugs.
The finding that alcohol is damaging to the brain is not new – the harmful effects of alcohol on the brain have been confirmed for years. The notable finding is that marijuana does not cause the same or any similar damaging effects. It was long assumed that cannabinoids damage the brain over long-term use.
However, researchers were not able to confirm any consistent damage caused by long-term marijuana use. The study was focused on the two types of brain tissue, gray matter, and white matter. Long-term marijuana use did not negatively impact either.
Alcohol use, on the other hand, was associated with a decrease in gray matter size, and a reduction in white matter integrity. The damage to both gray and white matter increased in individuals with decades of exposure to alcohol.
Additionally, the researchers reviewed previous studies that showed various negative effects of marijuana in the brain, such as a reduction in the size of the hippocampus. They were unable to find a consistency to substantiate any of the previous studies.