Breaking news: long term marijuana use may not be good for your brain.
A study performed by Australian researchers and just released in the American Medical Association's journal Archives of General Psychiatry, reveals that heavy use of marijuana may cause two important brain structures to shrink. According to Reuters,
"brain scans showed the hippocampus and amygdala were smaller in men who were heavy marijuana users compared to nonusers." And here's a shocker:
The study ... also found the heavy cannabis users earned lower scores than the nonusers in a verbal learning task -- trying to recall a list of 15 words.(Emphasis mine).
Equally shocking is the what the results of the study have caused the researchers to conclude:
These findings challenge the widespread perception of cannabis as having limited or no harmful effects on (the) brain and behavior," said Murat Yucel of ORYGEN Research Centre and the University of Melbourne, who led the study.
Did the medical community really need to conduct a study to determine that stoners' brains don't quite work as well as the brains of people who don't spend their lives in a perpetual blazed-out haze? I don't know what kind of financial resources went into funding this study (I hope the Australian taxpayers didn't have to foot the bill for the research grant), but the results of the study certainly seem to fall into the "no shit!" category. Anybody who knows, has ever known, or has otherwise come into contact with stoners could have predicted the result of the study (save for monitoring the shrinkage in the stoners' brains).
Hell, even a 9 year old third grader who doesn't actually know any stoners (glue-sniffing kids don't count, although they will -- no doubt -- eventually grow up to be stoners) would probably be able to tell you as much so long as he or she is even halfway familiar with the lifestyles of many/most of our current generation of American celubutards.
(Stoners pictured clockwise: Brad Pitt, Diddy [Sean Combs], Steve-O [Jackass], Paris Hilton, Lil Wayne)