Just yesterday, an article was posted in the Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region's The Gazzette (the 2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner) in regards to the new study published this past week in The Journal of Neuroscience regarding casual cannabis use. The research used 40 college students in the Boston area and was financed by grants from the National Institutes of Health as well as the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Northwestern Medicine's Warren Wright Adolescent Center.
Scientists looked at the brains of 20 relatively light cannabis users and found volume, shape, and density changes in two brain areas.
Biologist and neuropharmacologist at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., Gregory Gerdeman, told USA Today that he worries about cannabis research being funded by federal agencies, like the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which is charged with limiting drug use. He said, "If you're getting money from the drug czar's office, that money's not going to continue if you don't end up publishing something that at least supports the general story of the danger of drug abuse." Gerdeman also added, "if it were my child, even with this study, I'm more comfortable with young people having a casual marijuana habit than drinking regularly."
Co-author of the New York Times bestseller Hero of the Underground and the Los Angeles Times bestseller Neon Angel, Tony O'Neill, in regards to his young daughter also writes, "...I’m more at ease with the idea of her smoking a joint when she’s old enough, rather than exposing herself to the greater potential harms of alcohol."
Very little research has been done on the potential benefits and downsides of casual pot smoking (fewer than four times a week on average).