Study: Marijuana May Protect Against Brain Damage From Binge Drinking

A study just published online by the journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology suggests that marijuana may protect the brain from some of the damage caused by binge drinking.

The study, by researchers at the University of California San Diego, used a type of high-tech scan called diffusion tensor imaging to compare microscopic changes in brain white matter. The subjects were students aged 16-to-19, divided into three groups: binge drinkers (defined as having five or more drinks at one sitting for boys or four or more for girls), binge drinkers who also smoked marijuana, and a control group who had very little or no experience with either alcohol or drugs.

As expected, the binge-drinking-only group showed evidence of white matter damage in eight regions examined, as demonstrated by lower fractional anisotropy (FA) scores. But in a finding the researchers described as “unexpected,” the binge-drinking/marijuana group had lower FA scores than the controls in only three of the eight regions, and in seven regions the binge-drinking/marijuana group had higher scores – indicating less damage – than the binge drinkers who didn’t use marijuana (unfortunately, not all of these stats are in the summary linked above; access to the full article requires payment).

Brain white matter tracts were “more coherent in adolescents who binge drink and use marijuana than in adolescents who report only binge drinking,” the researchers wrote. “It is possible that marijuana may have some neuroprotective properties in mitigating alcohol-related oxidative stress or excitotoxic cell death.” The scientists noted that such protection has already been shown in lab and animal studies.

Indeed, the U.S. government has a patent on cannabinoids as neuroprotectants. Yes, the same government that wants you to believe that marijuana will rot your brain knows that its active components protect brain and nerve cells from many kinds of damage.

In a statement issued by MPP today, director of state campaigns Steve Fox said, “This study suggests that not only is marijuana safer than alcohol, it may actually protect against some of the damage that booze causes. It’s far better for teens not to drink or smoke marijuana, but our nation’s leaders send a dangerous message by defending laws that encourage the use of alcohol over marijuana.”

Fox is co-author of the new book, “Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?” The book is getting lots of favorable press coverage, and recently hit number 14 on the Amazon.com bestseller list.

31 thoughts on “Study: Marijuana May Protect Against Brain Damage From Binge Drinking”

  1. So… now what? This stuff is piling up and nothing, not a thing is being done politically or through the media.

    Seriously, what is it going to take? Obama has no change, when there is a black and white line that there NEEDS to be when it comes to marijuana.

  2. It makes sense. Marijuana can also help stop binge drinking as well. After a joint, drinking becomes less enjoyable.

  3. We all know that cannabis does no harm. The harm from cannabis is brought on us by our own gov. There was no mention at all on any news channel today about Mexico’s law change. Why doesn’t any news channel stand up for it’s right to free speech? I am sure someone has sent the news to the news but damned if I saw even a hint of this change in drug policy. Big brother at it’s finest.

  4. anyone notice that all these test subjects are under the age to legally drink, how the fuck did they do this without being arrested.

  5. MPP and fellow posters please help. Woke up this morning and read a letter to the editor from mauinews.com, which I believe could win the “reefer madness” award for 2009. This person is Maui’s number one prohibitionist, writing many letters through the years continually spreading lies and propaganda against the Cannabis plant. Sometimes hard for local folks to write public rebuttal letters (in their own neighborhood) for fear of bringing attention to themselves, so I am hoping that “The Maui News” letters to the editor will be flooded with letters from Cannabis supporters…from anywhere worldwide… exposing this nonsense for what it really is. Thank you all for your help…Aloha

    Posted 8/22/2009 The Maui News Letters to the Editor

    “Mainland news includes marijuana atrocities”

    There have been many news stories recently about pot users committing crimes, high on marijuana at the time, or else chronic users of the devil weed.

    The most horrifying and loathsome was Mainland pot smoker John Jackey Worman, who was sentenced to 120 years in prison Aug. 12 for making child pornography that shows him sexually assaulting children, including infants. Worman made girls in his care perform sex acts for school lunch money. He had more than 1 million images of child pornography when arrested. Worman described his childhood as a good one in which he was “free to do as he liked.” He started using marijuana and alcohol at age 11.

    Pot advocates ignore the deleterious effects of smoking marijuana, especially at a young age. Marijuana and alcohol impair development of the frontal lobe of the brain, the seat of morality, the will and spirituality. The frontal lobe is what largely sets humans apart from animals. Some researchers believe it takes as long as 30 years for it to fully develop. The frontal lobe of pot smokers and booze drinkers like John Jackey Worman never develop fully.

    Pot advocates are wrong, including medicinal use advocates. National Public Radio reports California medical marijuana stores are thriving. NPR reports most buyers are plainly recreational users, not sick. Some buyers are buying medicinal pot and reselling it at a profit to young people eager to get high – and permanently impair their developing brains. No to pot. No to alcohol.

    Jerome Kellner

    Wailuku

    Just say NO TO JEROME KELLNER…please help All Cannabis supporters in Hawaii by making this guy look silly!!! Again…thank you.

  6. hi nesomania, wow ive never seen that comin befor lol ppl commit crimes while on pot? is he that stupid nd a idiot? he needs to go back to school or get his brain checkd out insted of ours, wut a looney.

  7. Clarence #8. The banner at the bottom of your t.v. screen is often times a great source for news. I did read in the banner that Mexico “Legalized” Drugs.

  8. To lea, I am sorry, I watched all day and did not see mention of the change. I still have not seen or heard anything yet on t.v. It must have only ran a few times but I do appologize.

  9. djm,
    I’ve read it!!! More great news for us men! My mother never even smoked pot until she got breast cancer in her mid 40’s. She and I and everyone else in or family credit her survival to cannabis. 20 years later, her cancer gone, she tokes happily away.
    Yes, NORML is a great source for information and I try to steer as many people there as possible. I’m new to MPP but I really like what I see, Keep up the great work, MPP!!!

  10. Just gotta say…Alcohol just sucks , I just wanna toke on occasion leaglly and not wreck my body with the” devil liquid”.

    Make me a law abiding citizen, leagize Cannabis!

  11. nesomnia:

    This is just more prohibitionist propaganda. How many out there have been smoking cannabis since their teen years and arent sicko’s? I for one think its the alcohol,that crap will make ya steal things ya never would, say things ya never would, treat people like you never would sober. Never done that with cannabis. Its safe to say these type of people just dont get it. I hope many many write in to this paper and set it right.

  12. They should also check out the possibility of using cannabis as a means to prevent testicular cancer from developing in the first place. As someone who is at risk of that disease it would be important to me to see a study that addressed that question. I would be surprised if cannabis didn’t help prevent testicular cancer from developing. But the reactionary idiots in the orthodox medical community would prefer, I kid you not for people with a risk of testicular cancer to voluntarily become eunuchs and have their testicles removed. These same idiots who advocate that people like myself become eunuchs vehemently oppose cannabis. Irefused to become a eunuch and I do not currently have cancer. But would it not make more sense to allow people at risk to use cannabis and prevent the possibilty of cancer from occuring rather than either wait for me to become a cancer patient or force me to take an operation to become a eunuch which itself has a high possility of killing me?

  13. Nesomania:

    I think that must be a satirical piece. No one seriously calls it “devil weed” anymore with a straight face. Plus his logic is ramshackle at best. It’s gotta be a joke.

  14. The lack of cannabis drive the motivation to drink alcohol, When out of reefer one drinks,alcohol is drank coz it’s legal, if we had legal cannabis , drinking would go down.

  15. No joke Jimmy Joe…this guy is dead serious…go to http://www.mauinews.com and enter his name on a search and see how much he has posted (you’ll see others’ responding to him also). I’m beginning to get the feeling it’s how the Maui News feels cause they keep printing his bullshit.

  16. Thank god….Im gonna tell my family about this cause a lot of them are alcoholic and I a PROUD POTHEAD………

  17. all im sayin is since i started smokin gonja, i rarely ever get sick…i know its not a coincidence becuz cannibus makes headaches go away so its gotta keep my bodys ammune system up to par or somethin…unlike alchohol where it just kills it…i hate fuckin liberals…ur ruining this country so get the fuck out you ignorant peices of shit! :) smoke weed everyday 09

  18. and hello congress wake the fuck up, if u want the drinking and driving stats to go down instead of rising like they are now, then legalize weed! i would put my life on it that it would drop tremendously within the first year

  19. The US government has a patent for cannabinoids as a neuroprotectant?!?! WTF!!!!! I can’t believe this. Smells of hypocrisy to me… ugh Im so pissed at our government. How disappointing. I should move to the Netherlands, pay taxes there.

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