White matter integrity in adole... [Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2009 Nov-Dec] - PubMed - NCBI

The following report indicates that marijuana has a remarkable ability to shield the brain from much of the damage that alcohol causes. This is why I wrote in Marijuana Gateway to Health that college administrators should require that marijuana be made available at all campus events where alcohol is served. Cannabinoids have amazing neuroprotective activity and guard the brain from damage resulting from alcohol abuse, head trauma, toxic insults, stroke, and aging. Even low doses of cannabinoids, one tiny toke per day, can offer protection from the deterioration that results from aging which will keep us safe from age-related dementia. If illegal marijuana protects the brain from the damage caused by legal alcohol, shouldn't we correct this injustice? Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2009 Nov-Dec;316:349-55. Epub 2009 Jul 23.White matter integrity in adolescents with histories of marijuana use and binge drinking.Jacobus J, McQueeny T, Bava S, Schweinsburg BC, Frank LR, Yang TT, Tapert SF.SourceSDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, USA.AbstractStructural brain abnormalities have been observed in adolescents with alcohol use disorders but less is known about neuropathological brain characteristics of teens with sub-diagnostic binge drinking or the common pattern of binge drinking combined with marijuana use. The goal of this study was to examine white matter integrity in adolescents with histories of binge drinking and marijuana use. Diffusion tensor imaging DTI was conducted with 42 adolescents ages 16-19 classified as controls, binge drinkers, or binge drinkers who are also heavy marijuana users. Tract based spatial analysis identified shared fiber structure across individuals and facilitated voxelwise comparisons of fractional anisotropy FA and mean diffusivity MD between groups. Significant between group differences were found in FA in eight white matter regions ps < or = .016 between the binge drink-only group and controls, including superior corona radiata, inferior longitudinal fasciculus, inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, and superior longitudinal fasciculus. Interestingly, in 4 of these same regions, binge drinkers who are also heavy marijuana users had higher FA than binge drinkers who did not use marijuana ps<.05. MD did not differ between groups. Findings are largely consistent with research suggesting less neuropathology in adolescents without histories of substance use. However, binge drinkers who also use marijuana did not show as consistent a divergence from non-users as did the binge drink-only group. Detection of white matter alterations may have implications in identifying early cognitive dysfunction in substance using adolescents.

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