Inside Your Brain on Cannabis: Cognitive ChaosS

We already know that smoking (or otherwise ingesting) pot causes an uncoordinated brain. Now scientists say they've discovered the mechanism behind pot brain clumsiness, and it could lead to better treatments for schizophrenia.

Researchers from Eli Lilly and the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom subjected rats to a drug that mimics THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Needless the say the poor rats had trouble navigating a maze. The scientists measured the electrical activity in the rat brains and found that the drugs' impact on specific regions was mild. But brain waves that typically coordinate across the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex were scrambled.

Those are two key brains regions involved in schizophrenia, and the scientists compared the resulting impairment in the rats to that of schizophrenia.

Other research has suggested that marijuana might cause problems like social anxiety, depression and memory impairment. But don't worry, this new study doesn't mean pot causes schizophrenia! The researchers actually hope they can use the rat as a model for finding ways (i.e. drugs) to restore rhythm to "disorchestrated brains."

[Journal of Neuroscience; Image: Shutterstock/Takito]


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