alcohol on the brain
alcohol on the brain

New Study Says Alcohol Damages Brain While Cannabis Does Not

Alcohol Can Break Grey and White Matter Down in the Brain

Posted by:
DanaSmith on Thursday Feb 15, 2018

New Study Says Alcohol Damages Brain While Cannabis Does Not

Alcohol Damage Brain Cells While Cannabis Does Not Says New Study from CannabisNet on Vimeo.


A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Colorado-Boulder contributes to a growing body of evidence that alcohol, not cannabis, is harmful to the brain.


The researchers looked at 853 adults between ages 18 to 55, and 439 teenagers aged 14 to 18 years old. The participants’ alcohol and cannabis consumption use for the last 30 days were analyzed, and MRI brain scans were taken. Specifically, the researchers looked at how alcohol and cannabis impact grey matter which controls brain function as well as white matter, which controls communication between nerves. A reduction in either gray or white matter results in impaired brain function, although this reduction was not observed among the participants who only consumed cannabis. In fact, there was absolutely no change in gray or white matter among both adults and teenagers who consumed cannabis only.


On the other hand, adults, especially those who have already been drinking for several years, experienced a reduction in volume of both gray and white matter. Because of this, the researchers conclude that drinking booze is much more harmful to the brain compared to cannabis.


“While marijuana may also have some negative consequences, it definitely is nowhere near the negative consequences of alcohol,” says the study’s co-author Kent Hutchinson to Medical News Today.


Although the researchers won’t admit that cannabis is beneficial to one’s health, they do acknowledge that more research needs to be done in this department. They also say that previous studies looking at the impact of cannabis on the brain often contradict each other. “When you look at these studies going back years, you see that one study will report that marijuana use is related to a reduction in the volume of the hippocampus [a region of the brain associated with memory and emotions]…. The next study then comes around, and they say that marijuana use is related to changes in the cerebellum or the whatever,” adds Mr. Hutchinson.


What The Facts Say


Scientists can call out for more research if they want, but the hard data makes it crystal clear that alcohol is not just dangerous, it’s fatal.


In 2014 alone, over 30,500 people have died just from alcohol-related causes alone in the United States. This figure does not take into account drinking-related homicides or accidents, but if those numbers were to be factored in, the figures would be closer to 90,000.


On the other hand, cannabis has not been linked to a single death or overdose.


Additionally, alcohol use has been significantly increase the risk for developing many kinds of cancer while cannabis is known to cure it. Last November, a group of some of the country’s top cancer doctors released a statement telling people that they should drink less. The reason behind, they say, it because there is strong evidence that alcohol consumption even if it’s just a glass of beer or wine a day, already increases the risk for breast cancer.  In fact, alcohol has been listed as a known carcinogen by the US Department of Health, and the National Cancer Institute says that the more booze you drink, the more you increase your risk of developing cancer.


Many cannabis consumers know what it’s like to forget what you’re doing when you’re stoned. Although cannabis may temporarily have an effect on memory, alcohol is what causes dangerous blackouts that completely render the brain incapable of creating memories. Studies show that the worst effects on memory impairment are observed in individuals who start a habit of heavy drinking during their teen days. Chronic drinkers exhibit impaired attention spans, memory, planning ability, social cognition, and emotional processes which can persist long after you sober up.


What’s worse is that binge drinking is associated with several long-term health risks. These include heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, and liver disease. Binge drinking also puts you at risk for unintentional injuries, violence, and risky sexual behavior which opens up the risk for sexually transmitted diseases.


When considering several variables such as brain health, addiction, the risk of developing cancer, the risk of death, violence, and more, current studies tell us that alcohol poses a serious health risk, one that cannabis just can’t hold a candle to.









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