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New marijuana study proves link between sensational headlines and media frenzy

Close-up of cluster of female cannabis flowers.
Close-up of cluster of female cannabis flowers.
By Bokske [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

A newly released study "proving" the negative effects of marijuana has been making headlines for the past couple days. The problem is, this study didn't find anything new. The conclusions, however, have been hyped way out of proportion.

Here is a summary of the methods and findings:

The team of scientists compared the size, shape, and density of the nucleus accumbens and the amygdala -- a brain region that plays a central role in emotion -- in 20 marijuana users and 20 non-users. Each marijuana user was asked to estimate their drug consumption over a three-month period, including the number of days they smoked and the amount of the drug consumed each day. The scientists found that the more the marijuana users reported consuming, the greater the abnormalities in the nucleus accumbens and amygdala. The shape and density of both of these regions also differed between marijuana users and non-users.

There have been many, many studies finding correlations between marijuana use and psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia. Some studies have found that cannabis use might cause such disorders to develop earlier in life than they otherwise would have. But other studies have found that cannabis can be used to alleviate symptoms of psychosis.

While the authors of the latest study to find this correlation are acting as if they finally found the damning evidence that will stop this crazy legalization trend, the truth is they simply have not. What they found was that people with "abnormalities" in the emotional centers of their brains are more likely to self-medicate with cannabis. The greater the "abnormality" the greater amount of cannabis consumed.

They found what we already knew and twisted it to sound bad. Self-medication already has a bad enough stigma considering how self-reliant of a society we claim to want to be. Let's stop demonizing those who found a way to cope.

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