Does Marijuana Use Increase Alzheimer’s Risk?

Marijuana jointBad news for Mary Jane enthusiasts. According to a new study, pot could restrict blood flow to the brain, which in turn, may affect your memory and ability to reason.

According to research recently published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, brain scans of nearly 1,000 past and present marijuana smokers – collected from nine outpatient neuropsychiatric clinics across the United States, where patients sought treatment for complex psychological or neurological problems — revealed abnormally low blood flow throughout their brains, when compared to a smaller control group of 92 people – who had never used pot.

“The differences were astonishing,” said lead researcher Dr. Daniel Amen, a psychiatrist and founder of the U.S.-based Amen Clinics. “Virtually every area of the brain we measured was lower in blood flow and activity in the marijuana smokers than in the healthy group.”

According to Amen, the findings were particularly disturbing in the hippocampus of marijuana users. “The hippocampus is the gateway to memory, to get memories into long-term storage,” he said. “That area distinguished healthy people from pot smokers better than any other area of the brain.”