A research team at Northwestern has made some interesting discoveries involving casual marijuana use and brain change, which found that “young adults who used cannabis just once or twice a week showed significant abnormalities in two important brain structures.”
Breiter and his team analyzed a very small sample of patients between the ages of 18 and 25: 20 marijuana users and 20 well-matched control subjects. The marijuana users had a wide range of usage routines, with some using the drug just once or twice a week and others using it every single day.
Utilizing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the researchers analyzed the participants’ brains, focusing on the nucleus accumbens (NAC) and the amygdala – two key brain regions responsible for processing emotions, making decisions and motivation. They looked at these brain structures in three different ways, measuring their density, volume and shape. According to Breiter, all three were abnormal in the casual marijuana users.