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The study of long term effects of cannabis on brain structure, is mainly

focused on the important regions of interest in the brain, these are: the medial

temporal cortex, temporal pole, parahippocampal gyrus, insula and orbitofrontal

cortex. These regions are rich in cannabinoid CB1 receptors and functionally

associated with motivational, emotional and affective processing.

At the end of the study, it was found out that the regular use of cannabis was

associated with the reduction of gray matter volume, in the regions of the brain rich in

cannabinoid CB1 receptors linked to motivational, emotional and affective processing.

Moreover, that the reduction of gray matter causes a person to make poor judgement

and up to the extent of affecting his social behavior. Lastly, that the magnitude of the

effect varies depending on the age of the person as well as the frequency of use.

The study however, is not sufficient to support its conclusion. The study did

not focus on the entire brain structure, but to some specific regions of interest only.

Moreover, the subject of the study involved only male participants starting from the

age of adolescence up to the age of 29 years old, excluding the female population.

The study also admitted that the accuracy of the data gathered cannot be conclusive

because there are external factors affecting the data gathering process.

These are: heterogeneity in sample characteristics, inter-individual differences

linked to past history of drug use, amount of consumption, psychological problems

and/or metodological differences in data processing. Because of these factors, we

cannot safely conclude that the findings are indeed accurate and true. However, there

is a pre-screen of the participate to lessen the external factors and to be closer to the

accuracy of the experiment such as the testing of concentration of

D9-Tetrahydrocannabinol-carboxylic acid (THCCOOH) in participants blood and urine

to confirm the regular use and the extent of cannabis consumption. Aside from that

they also use determine if the participants use other kinds of illegal substance aside

from weeds to eliminate it in the process.

Since there is a possibility that the shrinkage of the structures of the brain is

also due to the various external and internal causes like aging or other ingestion of

other substance like the combination of the alcohol and the weed. Since this

experiment doesnt have a good control variable to make it achievable.

Although cannabis is one of the most widely used recreational drugs. There

are only a handful of studies that focuses on its effects in the brain structure as well

as effects brought by its recreational and regular usage. However, it is not conclusive,

since they only got the MRI images when they already usage of the weed. It is better

if they had comparison between the period before the consumption of 1st weed and

the different period of the consumption of weed. For example, the first 3 months of

usage what is the change of this brain structure in this set time between the

occasional and regular users. They could also put a negative control like compare the

brain structure of the people who never consume weeds or alcohol and compare it

with the occasional and regular users. The researches could also see if the usage of

weed is reversible or irreversible after stopping the weed consumption. In addition to

that the can look at pattern of the rate of change in the brain the number of weeds in

consumption in various age, like to see if late adulthood has severe effects when in

trying marijuana. Since in theory the adolescence brain is still developing

Furthermore, The methodology usage of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) as

a way of analysing the change of brain structures is the best way to analyse the brain

structure especially the used the one of the latest model during its time since typically
1.5T is the clinical machine which is only good for the abdominal imaging but in this

study the scanning was performed on a 3T Siemens Trio scanner which have a better

resolution, clearer and vivid image than 1.5T since it can produce more signals.

However, using 3T MRI has its own limitations such as it can have a higher likely

hood of artifacts (any object that appears in the image that is not in the original object);

specifically, flow artifacts due to blood or fluid since the head is filled with CSF and

several vein and arteries flowing brain. But to somewhat lessen the artifacts in this

experiment during the MRI scanning they put cushion in the participants head in the

coil with padding, to lessen the movement during the scanning period; thus, lessening

the artifacts in the images. In the future studies, the researchers must use positron

emission tomography instead of MRI, since PET-scan is to see how well your organs

and tissues are working. The PET scan can measure blood flow, oxygen use, glucose

metabolism (how your body uses sugar), and much more. It is not enough that they

just see the brain structure, they should also see how the effects of marijuana in

terms of functionality.

Since this study focuses on a field less focused on, it is important to conduct a

more comprehensive and longitudinal study about cannabis long term effect in the

brain structure. Furthermore, to include female participants and widen the age

bracket for a more accurate data gathering. Lastly, to look for similar studies to see,

compare and analyse the data gathered for a more comprehensive research and


Thus, in this way we can validate and make sure that the findings and

conclusions, including the data gathered are indeed true, accurate and unbiased.