Earlier studies have proved that cannabis can harm your mental health. Now a news study finds that high-strength cannabis may damage nerve fibers that manage the flow of messages across the two halves of the brain.
Brain scans of individuals who regularly smoked cannabis showed subtle differences in the white matter that joins the left and right hemispheres and carries signals from one side of the brain to the other.
‘High-strength cannabis may damage nerve fibers that manage the flow of messages across the two halves of the brain. Greater use of skunk may cause more damage to the corpus callosum.’
AdvertisementThe research is said to be the first to look at the effects of cannabis potency on brain structure, and suggests that greater use of skunk (skunk strains are hybrids of Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica) may cause more damage to the corpus callosum, making communications across the brain's hemispheres less efficient.
Paola Dazzan, a neurobiologist at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, said the effects appeared to be connected to the level of active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), in cannabis.
While traditional forms of cannabis contain 2 to 4 % THC, the more potent varieties can contain 10 to 14% THC.
"If you look at the corpus callosum, what we're seeing is a significant difference in the white matter between those who use high potency cannabis and those who never use the drug, or use the low-potency drug," said Dazzan. The corpus callosum is rich in cannabinoid receptors, on which the THC chemical acts.
"The difference is there whether you have psychosis or not, and we think this is strictly related to the potency of the cannabis," Dazzan added. The study are reported in the journal Psychological Medicine.