Image by Michael Gaida from Pixabay

As a rule, we don’t talk about marijuana in this blog because we don’t want to be in the position of advocacy or condemnation. However, an article on the Medical News Today web page had some extremely interesting information that was too compelling to ignore.


The article indicated that scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder, Rachel Thayer, of the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, and colleagues, conducted a review of existing imaging data that looked at the effects of alcohol and marijuana, or cannabis, on the brain.

Their findings linked alcohol consumption with long-term changes to the structure of white matter and gray matter in the brain. The data, however, indicated that the use of marijuana seemed to have no significant long-term effects on brain structure.

The results were reported in the journal Addiction.


The researchers conducted a new analysis on existing brain imaging data. Their aim was to close the gap on the inconsistency in the research. They looked at how marijuana use affects white matter and gray matter in the brain, and how its effect compared with alcohol. As a note, any reduction in gray matter or white matter in the brain can lead to impairments in brain functioning.

Study co-author, Kent Hutchison, also from the department of Psychology and Neuroscience, stated, “With alcohol, we’ve known it’s bad for the brain for decades, but for cannabis, we know so little.”


The researchers found that alcohol use – particularly in adults who had been drinking for many years – was associated with a reduction in gray matter volume, as well as a reduction in the integrity of white matter. Marijuana use, however, appeared to have no impact on the structure of gray or white matter in either teenagers or adults. Based on these findings, the researchers believe that drinking alcohol is likely to be much more harmful to brain health than using marijuana.


As we stated earlier, we are not here to advocate for or work against marijuana legalization or use, merely to state research. It would appear, based on the research referenced above, that drinking alcohol is much worse for our brain’s health than using marijuana. Given that research, one has to wonder why alcohol is legal in all fifty states and marijuana is only legal in a few states.

Medical News Today article:

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