AMEN CLINICS

New Research Shows How Marijuana Drops Blood Flow to the Brain. Should You Be Concerned?

Reported rates of marijuana use have more than doubled in the past decade. Medical marijuana is now legal in nearly half of US states and is increasing access to the drug for current and potential future users. Although it is often portrayed as harmless, and sometimes even therapeutic, there has not been nearly enough studies done to prove this. In fact, marijuana is often prescribed for issues like anxiety, though studies cannot comprehensively show this to be true. The current available information of the impact marijuana has on the neurophysiology of the brain show, predominantly, depressive effects. 

In a recent study using PET imaging to demonstrate the release of dopamine in the striatum, a region of the brain that is involved in working memory, impulsive behavior, and attention, results showed that heavy marijuana use has similar dopamine releasing behaviors as cocaine and heroin. Several studies in chronic cannabis users show structural changes to the hippocampus persist, even after six months of abstinence. 

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy has already warned that we’re too quick to legalize the popular drug when research still hasn’t shown whether or not it’s truly safe. With Amen’s new research, there is proof that Dr. Murthy’s concerns are well warranted.

Just published in the most recent Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, the research finds that, after studying imaging of 1,000 cannabis users’ brains, there were signs of noticeable deficiencies of blood flow.  The study, which included 25,168 non-cannabis users, and 100 healthy controls, shows a scary and obvious difference in blood flow levels for those that used cannabis. Additionally, those that used marijuana showed a significant lack of blood flow in the right hippocampus, the area of the brain that helps with memory formation. This part of the brain is severely affected with those that suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.

Our research has proven that marijuana users have lower cerebral blood flow than non-users. The most predictive region separating these two groups is low blood flow in the hippocampus on concentration brain SPECT imaging.This work suggests that marijuana use has damaging influences in the brain – particularly regions important in memory and learning and known to be affected by Alzheimer’s. Our research demonstrates that marijuana can have significant negative effects on brain function. The media has given a general impression that marijuana is a safe recreational drug, this research directly challenges that notion.

Several studies of perfusion imaging in marijuana users have shown similar results compared to ours. A small O15 PET study in a sample of 12 marijuana users used a randomized clinical trial design to examine brain perfusion before and after marijuana use. The study results found frontal, temporal and occipital lobe hypo-perfusion – all findings concordant with our study.

At Amen Clinics, we can help you and your loved ones overcome the stigma and suffering associated with ADD/ADHD, anxiety, depression, brain injury, weight loss, addictions, memory issues, brain fog, and other emotional and cognitive issues. If you are ready to regain control over your life or help a loved one do the same, give us a call at 888-288-9834 or visit our website for more information.

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COMMENTS

  1. Kat says:

    This is very interesting however this article does not specify whether the study was conducted on marijuana smokers and vapor smokers vs canabis extracts taken in other forms such as ingesting edibles or CBD oils (neither of which are smoked), etc. Different strains (indica vs saliva) are also not specified. I’d be very interested in more specific data around this. Keep up the research! But please be more specific.

  2. Dan Boltron says:

    Sample of 12 should tell you all you need to know to define Dr. Amen’s ‘research’ as not really qualifying as research

    • Tracy K. says:

      You did not read that correctly. He mentions that small sampling was from a similar study to ones they have done, and their results corresponded to what they saw in their own studies. You also seemed to scan over the study that had 1,000 users.

      • Dan Boltron says:

        I’ve read Amen’s cheesy blog posts on marijuana for years. All the research he references show correlation, not causation. But he pawns it off to people like you as causation. I’ve tried his supplements for years to deal with severe insomnia. I followed everything he recommended in his books. It only helped somewhat. Since I’ve been using Cannabis everyday I sleep like a baby. I function better at my job than I ever have. So until Anen, you, or any other person who has zero experience with cannabis actually gains real experience nothing you say will be relevant. I will gladly sacrifice some blood flow to my Hippocampus for a good night of sleep. My memory is great. I run circles around my wife keeping up with chores. Until he or any other researcher stops lumping in every different strain of cannabis into ‘duh marijuana’ and does research based on high quality flower and specifies strains and their source none of that research has any credibility.

      • Ingrid Blohm-Hyde says:

        Pot heads do not seem to understand correctly what they read.

      • Ingrid Blohm-Hyde says:

        Pot heads appear to not be able to read a newsletter or maybe they read it and forget the important facts.

    • Wes says:

      Dan – you made two fundamental errors in your comment, the first being you didn’t read the article carefully. The second being that single-case studies have a well-established and valued place in the literature and are widely accepted as quality research. While studies of efficacy of treatments and those aimed at generalizability to the larger population aim for larger Ns, that in no way diminishes the value of small N or single-case studies. If you review the research on which many medications have been approved for use by the FDA, you will find many with Ns of <50 subjects and only two or three replications with similarly small Ns. Of course, in the case of Dr. Amen's study, the N is more than sufficient to sustain his findings, unless of course, you suffer from confirmation bias. In that case, no amount of evidence to the contrary is likely to move you off of your opinion.

      • Dan Boltron says:

        Unfortunately I believe you and he and many others suffer from confirmation bias. Dr. Mitch Earleywine is an actial researcher and the leading drug abuse researcher and has shown a lot of holes in these dinky studies.

  3. Luccim says:

    The medical marijuana is commonly highly desired by those with severe, violent and multiple times per day epileptic seizures, to ease the painful and wasting side effects of chemo, to combat cancer, and for extreme cases of pain management where other very strong pain killers are not working or may even cause life long life threatening addiction. And one needs to distinguish between CBD vs. TSH or some combination. If there’s a life threatening situation or illness causing unbearable pain and disability, the risks can be discussed between the patient and their Dr., NOT the gov’t.!

    Furthermore it should be eliminated from employer’s drug testing unless it makes the employee a danger to others. There was a guy who stopped regularly smoking it because he started a new dream job at a company that regularly drug tested their employees and he did not want to get fired. Within a few months, tumors that were previously being suppressed by smoking it, began to reappear. People should not have to choose between dying from a horrible disease vs. working at a miserable boring and underpaying job because the employer you really want to work for won’t let you use it if the person needs to for a bona fide medical reason.

    • ROLAND says:

      There is, to my knowledge, a very significant paradigm called:
      Germanische Heilkunde by its discoverer in 1981. It explains seizures as
      a requisite sign of healing the evidence of a sudden, unexpected
      Significant Biological Special program of Nature event involving the
      motor cortex in the brain. It occurs in the healing crisis, which tests
      the success of the first part of this healing phase, and if it is not
      yet sufficient, the first part repeats and another healing crisis
      manifests itself with yet another seizure etc. On the other hand, if a
      person studies the Germanic Healing arts and -teachings, and understands
      what is happening to themselves, they can support this healing phase
      and heal completely without further difficulty.
      http://learninggnm.com/documents/study_guidelines.html .

  4. iva says:

    I think that there is a difference between smoking marijuana and taking oil. People report benefits from the oil. Dr. Sanjay Gupta did a documentary in which a child suffering with epilepsy was literally cured by a special kind of marijuana, namely a form of indica. He concluded that it is important what type of marijuana is used for the concern. I found the documentary to be good.
    I hope that for medicinal purposes indica is good. Reports indicate that sativa has high THC level and that would be my concern. I don’t think that smoking sativa is beneficial in the long term.

    • skyway1234 says:

      I wonder how many people out of the 50 million problem pot smokers we have in this country have epilepsy that is being helped by marijuana?

  5. skyway1234 says:

    Articles like this are a virtual pothead magnet. Addicts HATE to hear anyone diss their beloved. Do not speak badly of the beloved marijuana! Don’t you realize it is good for everything that ails you and can be used interchangeably instead of aspirin, Bactine, Neosporin, Valium, and literally thousands of other good things? Why, its as good as eating oatmeal in the morning, exercising regularly or drinking water! Be careful Dr. Amen, because writing articles like this will get you called the “P” word by the potheads – “Prohibitionist.”

    • Ray E. Gallo says:

      I’ve seen lots of Amen images. This post omits that (1) this is a chronic use brain and (2) chronic alcohol use does the same thing. Prohibition is not the answer.

      • skyway1234 says:

        It makes no difference whether we are talking about damage to children, damage to families, damage to the brain, damage to the IQ – nothing matters when you are a pothead. You are free to smoke pot all you want. I smoked pot and quit over 29 years ago and I had forgotten it was even against the law back then, because nobody got arrested among my pot smoking friends. So you can do it all you want – as long as you are wiling to pay the price. When somebody tries to wake you up by giving a word of warning, don’t start tearing apart their words.

        You want to ruin your brain? Go ahead. This doctor is citing a study showing a link to Alzheimer’s – do you want to disregard a warning about a disease that makes it so you can’t remember anything and die like that someday? The brain you pollute with THC is the exact same brain you would need to be able to use in order to make a decision about whether pot was hurting your thought process. It becomes a catch 22 in which you THINK you are thinking straight, but you are not – and the decision process is not working. Maybe if you were thinking straight you would have realized I was ridiculing the pot smoking crowd by writing the last line of my comment – and then you did exactly what I said you would do. If you want to be a person who cannot think critically, then go ahead and smoke pot, but don’t tear down the science on this.

        Having millions of people smoking pot is NOT helping our society. We have 5% of the world’s population, according to a UN study conducted about a year and a half ago – and 80% of the world’s addicts. So you think we need MORE legalized drugs? We need that like a hole in the head. You people, the potheads, are ruining our society. I may not be able to stop you at the voting booth, but I’m sure as heck am not going to keep quiet about what you people are doing to this country.

    • George says:

      Well stated. It’s tiresome. The facts just don’t count….and for 40 years of research have not. If you look at Dr. Amen’s marijuana scans you will see that exactly the part of the brain needed for mature reasoning, high level factual processing, and executive functioning look like they have holes in them. They’re not real holes but parts of the brain where blood is not perfusing well. Without that these processes are impaired..they have to be. So, ask any parent who understands this: “Which brain you would wish to send to college if you are paying the tuition.”

    • George says:

      And some, as it turns out maybe even at least one on here, are in the pocket of NORML. Check it out.

  6. Lara says:

    I would like to make two observations.
    1. Dr. Amen is not a big proponent of pharmaceuticals, so obviously he isn’t getting paid by them. So how would this research result benefit him?
    2. For those who adamantly praise all the health benefits of marijuana, please understand that for every benefit any drug or herb has, there is a risk vs. benefit that must be weighed. Natural doesn’t mean “no side effects.” Digitalis is also natural, and I dare you to smoke that.

    • Dan Boltron says:

      Dr. Amen, like many, have a moral hangup and just can’t let go. His studies are not peer reviewed. The studies he references show mostly correlation which he and many others pawn of as causation. To people who don’t have a background in research it sounds good, but is not.

      • George says:

        Dan,
        I have a stack of great research in my office on this going back 30-40 years. It’s never enough for those who want it politically accepted. But, make no mistake; that is a political issue and not an issue of high minded concern for scientific rigor. This is a substance with 480 chemicals when cold that explodes into over 2000 when heated. One cannot use a 1 independent variable and 1 dependent variable methodology to study something of this nature. This comment won’t change your mind either. It won’t be enough. You know users admit they want medical marijuana accepted so recreational use will be legalized. Most professionals do not object to medical marijuana, but, it is a scam to say all these recreational users have great concerns for sick people. Users do not recognize when they are using that they are slower, more forgetful, and do not function well. They do, however, grudgingly admit they feel better, notice their minds working better, have more energy, and start moving up the ladder of success at work after they quit. George Swanberg LSATP, MAC, LCSW

        • Dan Boltron says:

          Hahaha! That is really funny George. People want medical only so recreational can be legalized. Hahaha! I struggled for years with insomnia related to severe PTSD. I tried every pharmaceutical prescribed by psychiatrists for sleep. Did not work at all. That’s when I decoy down Amen and followed his cases and what he prescribed, everything including his time release melatonin that worked a little here and there, and I did appreciate that. Since I’ve used cannabis daily I don’t have any issue with insomnia any more. I sleep like a baby. I feel refreshed when I wake up. Get up and go to the gym. Excel at sports. Do my rigorous job well. And run circles around my wife with the chores. So keep telling me what people who want medical marijuana want buddy! Hahaha!

          • George says:

            Well, I’m glad that’s working out for you. However, keep looking for natural and non-drug alternatives. I’m using a perspective of about 40,000 clients I’ve seen so I hear the conversations they’re having usually. That won’t fit every situation, no doubt.
            I doubt you were born with a cannabis deficiency. And, over time drugs taken regularly will usually build up tolerance, change their effects, and, in the case of marijuana lead to grumpiness and depression. Drugs are neither good nor bad; they have the effects we want and then some other effects.

          • Dan Boltron says:

            Now you’re talking George! We do have cannabinoid receptors and I’ve read something about cannabis deficiencies related to that. I very well might. Research in this area is still pretty young honestly. ALL drugs have positive effects and negative effects. Since science has been restricted with regard to cannabis there is a lot we don’t know, and it is a shame really. Patients have had to hide their use so any samples we think we have probably aren’t representative except in relation to addiction patients. The vast majority of other people have hidden their use so most general practitioners don’t have enough clinical data. In any case, the great thing is that cannabis is natural. As long as it works I will use it (navigating any complications and try to figure it out as that is what most are left to do). If it doesn’t work then I won’t use it. It’s easy to stop as I’ve stopped in the past with zero issues, as it does not cause physical dependence. 40,000 clients?! Wow! How many years have you practiced?

          • skyway1234 says:

            Why bother asking George how many patients he has treated, Dan? Nothing he says will mean anything to you and your promotion of pot, so why bother? The Surgeon General released a report last week that says heroin addicts are costing this country $440 Billion a year in costs to the government, insurance companies, law enforcement and employers. That is just the heroin addicts! There are so many alcoholics, potheads, pill poppers and other type of drug addicts that I wonder what THAT is costing us? But keep arguing, Dan! Keep being a part of the problem, because we need more people messed up and fewer sober. The US is 5% of the world’s population – and has 80% of it’s substance abusers – and YOU are helping the pot industry to get more people on that list.

          • Dan Boltron says:

            Research has demonstrated clearly cannabis is not a gateway drug. But I guess you want to cherry pick which research you believe and don’t. I am not saying there are no negative effects of cannabis. I haven’t said that once on here. In fact I’ve pointed out that there are negatives and positives. Cannabis has helped many heroin addicts get off of it. Anthony Keidis, for example. Dude, I used to be an uptight moralizer like you, bellowing out tired old Nancy Reagan cliches. It’s going to be ok man.

          • Carol Welch says:

            Thank you for your open-minded, yet thoughtful responses to all on this string. I don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other, but your thoughts have made the most sense to me. I see the side effects of all of the prescription drugs my mom is on. In fact, isn’t there more evidence of dementia with prescription sleeping pills than marijuana? There is probably more research in general there too, but I know that I decided against sleeping pills after reviewing the research. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

          • Kenneth Williams says:

            If it works well for you with little or now side effects it sure beats prescription sleep aids by a large margin. Insomnia and anti-anxiety are two wonderful attributes of this widely ridiculed weed.

          • skyway1234 says:

            Widely ridiculed? The people, like me, who are trying to get the word out about the dangers of using marijuana are drowned out by the 50 million people who are using regularly in this country. BTW, we also have 60 million alcoholics, 250 million prescriptions written yearly for anti-depressants, 259 million written each year for painkillers and 22 million heroin addicts, among other street drug addicts. So, you see, potheads are so terrified of ANYTHING coming between them and their substance of choice that they spend their time ragging out anyone who takes a stand against pot. Meanwhile, our country is drowning in substances, with pot and alcohol being the two major gateways to harder drug use.

            I quit 29 years ago and have seen and helped thousands of pot addicts over the years. It’s terribly sad. But, hey, you can be a part of the big, monstrous group that stomp out anyone who recommends sobriety!

          • JD LPC says:

            As a mental health counselor who works with addicts and their families, I would like to share the statistics you cited in this reply but before I do, can you share your source? Thank you!

          • Kuden seeker says:

            I have adhd pot is killer for me. I realize that now. Vyvanse is prescribed by my dr and without it i would spiral out of control. I no longer drink, smoke or do any sort of illegal drugs. I still have coffee because it helps my mood stay level.

          • skyway1234 says:

            You can’t kid a kidder, Dan. Be careful about that price tag. There is a price tag for every choice we make in life and it’s always a good idea to take a good, long look at the price before making any decision.

          • Dan Bo says:

            I’m doing great. Never felt better

        • Dan Boltron says:

          And btw any ‘research’ on cannabis before this year, very very unfortunately (or in your case fortunately as you’ve obviously profited in your work by peddling those partial truths) was restricted by the DEA to only study the negative effects of cannabis. Talk about confirmation bias!!!

        • Frederikahere says:

          You are correct, esp regarding the lack of insight users have while high. They think they are being witty and charming when the exact opposite is true. Rather like being the designated driver; you watch other people’s “brilliance” as they get stinking drunk.

          • George says:

            You’ll notice a bit of belligerence developing in the discussion very consistent and possibly helped along by chronic use of the drug. But, you are right…what starts out masquerading as an honest inquiry develops into a defensive and pointless back and forth..which is never ending.

          • Frederikahere says:

            That is the usual pattern. It seems that to many, pot is more than a good time, way to relax, etc….it became their god, their one “true” love. Pretty sad.

        • Kuden seeker says:

          I’m stunned that somebody on this board can actually think. I have adhd and i smoked once and i had to pick up the phone. Pot sent my adhd memory problems into over drive. I would hear two words and totally miss the rest of the conversation i couldn’t even focus. It was so damned humiliating.

      • skyway1234 says:

        Pot advocates never believe in ANY study conducted that shows marijuana isn’t good for you. In fact, pot advocates have drowned out most of the websites that show the facts about marijuana use and it’s effects on the human brain and body by putting up bogus websites with glowing praise for marijuana. You may get the tens of millions of potheads to believe you, but sober people know better. You see, when you think with a clear brain you can critically think in a way that far excels anything a druggie can even imagine.

        • Dan Boltron says:

          Name calling now. You seem like a really amazing and intelligent person. Or a troll. I guess I’m having trouble discerning as I allegedly don’t have as ‘clear a brain’ as you (according to you). All drugs, including cannabis, have positive and negative effects. Up until this year all the research on cannabis has been restricted only, ONLY to study to negative effects, vastly skewing the data. Those studies that say people who use marijuana are more likely to be depressed? Ha, those studies had large samples of people suffering from terminal illnesses like cancer. They were depressed because they were experiencing learned helplessness (which is depression) at not being able to do anything about the fact they were dying. Very depressing. But that research showed what we call a correlation (not a causation). Understanding the data and looking into the limits of each piece of research is vital to the process of research. But, go on and tell me more with you ‘clear brain’. I’ll be waiting for something really ‘clear brain’ special to come from your keyboard.

          • skyway1234 says:

            I’ve never made one penny from being against marijuana or any other drug or substance. Now…are you a troll? The reason studies show there are negative effects is because marijuana causes negative effects. I have a very high IQ – my father was a rocket scientist and protege to Werner Von Braun – and I am so glad I didn’t ruin my brain any further by smoking pot. I smoked from 18 to 31 and it was very bad for me. Anyone who smokes strong enough marijuana knows that it makes you stupid.

            I got into a program to stop smoking and now I try to help other people quit – I don’t get paid for this. I own a completely unrelated business and help others in my spare time. My observation is that the older a pot smoker gets, the more they damage themselves and the harder it is for them to stop. Also, marijuana is almost always the first substance a person does when they go back out on substances after trying to get sober. Anyone who promotes marijuana needs to take responsibility for the fact that younger people are really being damaged by using marijuana and they have been lead to believe marijuana is harmless by people like you.

            Marijuana is bad for your lungs, heart, and brain, but go ahead and smoke pot – I don’t care. I’m just not going to pretend, like you do, that pot is good for one’s health. There is a very tiny group of people and children who can be helped with smoking pot and I take no issue with that. But the other 50 million potheads are ruining their ability to think properly and it does have a bad effect on our society. Unfortunately pot smokers don’t get this because…they smoke pot!

          • Dan Boltron says:

            Um, I never said you made money off this. Read who that was a reply to. It says “George” man. That was my conversation with George (the guy who claims to have seen over 40,000 patients in his lifetime (which is pretty much mathematically impossible).

          • Dan Boltron says:

            But now that your talking to me, please tell me who is more crazy? People smoking cannabis and being honest about it. Or a guy like George shaming his credentials on a public forum making up some outrageously exaggerated number (that he’s personally seen 40,000 people in his career- which would require he sees an average of 19.23 new clients each week, 52 weeks per year, for 40 years. If one is a Social Worker and counseling people that is simply not possible. If it was possible it would not be ethical to see clients only once and keep only bringing in new clients and sending people off without continued support. Let me know Skyway

          • George says:

            45 years @ 1,500/yr in busy hospitals and clinics? It actually may be more.

          • Dan Boltron says:

            And if you cared about the children keeping it illegal is the surest way it gets in their hands. I worked with teens for twelcmve years. Every teen I worked with used cannabis. I did not promote its use, nor did I use at that time. In fact I probably sounded like George. But the easiest drug to get for teens is marijuana. Easier than alcohol. What the teens need is a model for responsible adult use. Right now people like you keep it underground and requiring people to encounter drug dealers on a black market. That is where the teens go too. By not keeping a regulatory barrier we are being irresponsible by maintaining the most open avenue our teens have to marijuana, the black market. What adult use is cannabis. Not whatever crazy mix of whatever you buy off the street. There is adult use. The vast majority of adults can handle adult use responsibly, and the highest number of addiction is 9%. Very low in relation to alcohol, and especially heroin and cocain. So if you want kids to be put in danger by seeking it out on the black market, you are keeping our teens in danger by forcing them to encounter drug dealers on the streets. The black market clearing up alone is a huge benefit in and of itself. All the data out of Colorado has shown that teen use has consistently decreased since legalization).

          • George says:

            The strange part of this is that those of us who treat drug abuse are attempting to put ourselves out of business..against a strong headwind of users and dealers who, I guess, have pure motives. No profits being made there on addictive substances.
            In real pharmaceutical research the studies are used to figure out before people start using if they are safe. It’s just so strange that with marijuana the research is backward: users claim the right and virtue of going ahead and using it until it’s proven deadly.

      • Ingrid Blohm-Hyde says:

        And what are your credentials Dan???

        • Dan Boltron says:

          Plenty. I studied under Dr. Mitch Earleywine at the University of Southern California, one of the leading researchers on drug abuse in the country. He’s now tenured at SUNY Albany.

      • Kyle Pontius says:

        Dan, did you read the article? Dr. Amen’s study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, a member publication of the Neuroscience Peer Review Consortium. While the limitations of this type of an article (this newsletter article, not his research) appear to prohibit or at least not necesitate proper citation, he does mention without citing, an experimental study using a clinical trials methodology – which means pre and post measurements and the use of both an experimental and a control group. Dan, I do have a background in research, and it still sounds good. – Kyle D. Pontius, PhD

        • Dan Boltron says:

          So you’re ok with Amen sending out click sit that says his research is “The Final Verdict”? That sounds like an accurate way to represent data from a piece of research?

          • Dan Boltron says:

            Most of Amen’s work is not peer reviewed. Sure, oxygen gets to the brain by blood flow, duh! But why are people not dropping like flies all over the place if it’s so dire? I’ve known people who have used marijuana since high school. I am 49 years old. Those people are doing fine, great actually. Face validity. I’ve studied under a tenured professor. A leading researcher in the field of drug abuse. There are positives and negatives with cannabis, just like every drug. It’s important to know what all the data means, not engage in scare tactics like mentioning Alzheimer’s twice in an article in a way that insinuates cannabis will lead to Alzheimer’s. There is actually reputable research that shows that cannabis may buffer people from the onset of Alzheimer’s! Am I going to sit here and claim cannabis cures Alzheimer’s? No! It’s a correlation! More research is needed to figure out if there is a causal relationship or not. That is how responsible research is conducted, and frankly why the vast vast majority of Amen’s research is not peer reviewed. You just cannot draw sweeping conclusions like that.

      • Kenneth Williams says:

        I never trust anyone trying to make big bucks on books, videos and other media that contains controversial material. Money may be of greater importance than being a helpful, compassionate, and generous person. I wish tax records were available for all people peddling this kind of stuff.

    • Kenneth Williams says:

      does he quote his own studies?

  7. Kenneth Williams says:

    How can we trust these studies without seeing the numerical differences between the brain before and after? “More” and “less” are meaningless without numbers. Are we talking tiny differences? Is there a plurality of large studies from reputable clinics with the same results? As an occasional user I am not in fear because Willy Nelson has smoked dope for at least 35 years and has written and recorded many songs, and performed live concerts with extreme success. I believe the big pharmaceuticals are losing sales of anti-anxiety drugs, sleep aids, and pain killers because of pot. Are they influencing these studies? Benzodiazepines are many, many times more dangerous. Withdrawals can result in manic behavior, seizures, depression, and even suicide. I have seen it first hand and it scares me greatly. But……. I agree that heavy smokers often exhibit noticeable memory loss. I am in my seventies and know what I am talking about. No one OD’s on pot and more people die from peanuts than pot. Shouldn’t we all quit eating peanuts?

    • Danny Lavoe says:

      Are you Willie Nelson? If Willie Nelson told you to jump off of an apple tree and into a pool of boiling water, would you do it? Do you think Willie Nelson had to worry about being able to maintain perfect cognitive function in order to complete normal human day to day tasks like the regular working class? He was a filthy rich celebrity who was puppeteer-ed by the elite that only care about the fact that he brought money in through his music…Also, he was able to make good music all the time because he was tripping all the time…Ideas come and go when you’re on drugs, and if all he had to do to survive is memorize a few hit singles and go on tour with them, then his life doesn’t seem too hard for him in my view. He basically lived his life recording in the studio. How does his career demonstrate successful cognitive function in any sense? Kim Kardashian is a celebrity. What’s your point? Also, It’s hard to believe that you’re seventy. No disrespect but the statement you just made was quite unwise of you sir. I mean that constructively.

      • Kenneth Williams says:

        Of course the answer is “NO” to both of your questions, Danny. I read Willy’s autobiography and believe he is still in control of his cognitive function. In his formative years he was “normal working class” in terms of working hard and making very little. Read the book and perhaps you will have a bit more respect for him. Early on he saw people ruin their lives with alcohol and cigarettes and chose pot as his only crutch. My comments covered enough territory that I am not sure which part shows my lack of maturity. The whole paragraph? I don’t even know if Willy is a heavy user, but I gather he is a regular user. check out Willy presenting an award at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0khSvMpKgFA I did admit that excess is bad, but my opinion of Willy is that he is sharper than many 83 year olds. BTW I compare you to Trump. Disagree? Attack one’s wisdom or lack of pointed discussion. I admit a rambling paragraph, but it was to say a lot with few words.

  8. ROLAND says:

    There is, to my knowledge, a very significant paradigm called: Germanische Heilkunde by its discoverer in 1981. It explains seizures as a requisite sign of healing the evidence of a sudden, unexpected Significant Biological Special program of Nature event involving the motor cortex in the brain. It occurs in the healing crisis, which tests the success of the first part of this healing phase, and if it is not yet sufficient, the first part repeats and another healing crisis manifests itself with yet another seizure etc. On the other hand, if a person studies the Germanic Healing arts and -teachings, and understands what is happening to themselves, they can support this healing phase and heal completely without further difficulty.
    https://learninggnm.com/documents/study_guidelines.html .

    • Dustin says:

      I agree with dan. Believe your crap studies and keep calling us pots heads. Only god can judge and you need to remember that. Too many damn keyboard cowboys in this world believing everything they see on the internet.

      • Dustin says:

        Mind your own damn business. Quit preaching your agendas on other people.

        • Dustin says:

          Y’all should do more research into the tons of man made chemicals you inject into your kids because the gov tells you too or because a drug store tells you to get your man made chemical vaccinations. Maybe you should research how many kids are now autistic because of the chemicals that so many doctors want to inject in them because they get a free round of golf at a resort for selling it. Or maybe you should look into the
          Chemicals sprayed all over our food? Did dr amen factor in diets of the people he studied? Or how about the truth of history being taught to kids? Maybe you should worry about the real problems In life instead of telling grown adults what YOU think is best for them. And then, still remember what I said earlier, ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE and putting out rediculous articles is completely bias. I have smoked for many years and never done
          Another drug, I have smoked many years and am not an alcoholic, I have smoked many years and deal with so many people like the
          People on here casting stones and you would never know I did. Damn. So sick of the retarded ass people in this country. CANT GO WRONG! Tommy Chong for prez!!!

          • Dustin says:

            And btw, I have a step son that is autistic from vaccinations given to him at a medical facility on a marine base. As well as I have a son of my own that is epileptic due to a botched delivery at a hospital. Both tremendously benefit from legs cbd oil. Have you ever watched your 2,3 or 4 year have a seizure? I have, and I have seen the
            Benefits of CBd oil. So. Unless you are god telling
            Me not smoke, then get off your damn soap box.

          • Dr Daymaker says:

            My parents consumed when I was in the womb. I started using cannabis occasionally when I was 13 and started growing cannabis at the age of 16. I had a nice relationship with this plant growing up, fortunately my mother would allow me to have cannabis and wine and in doing so I never became addicted to the other drugs, which were prevalent when I was in my youth.
            I became sober for several years and noticed a drastic increase in my capabilities to accomplish anything I set my mind too. It wasn’t until 6 years ago that I started using cannabis again. 5 years ago I had one head injury causing myself to have light stigmatism and occasional migraines. I had neither prior. I rcv’d Hyperbaric, Amen review, Low Energy Neuro Feedback and light therapy and it seemed to diminish all of my symptoms until I had my second brain trauma. Now if I consume high THC I have unbelievable bouts of migraines and it cause massive mood swings, blurred vision and loss of memory. If I only consume very low THC and high CBD (less than 3-4% THC and over 15% CBD) it actually works for me. I think their needs to be a study deeper than just saying cannabis causes something when there are so many kinds of cannabis. In addition, I think that the new testing proving that high THC is actually blocking your cb1 & cb2 receptors from uptake of the CBD merits research. Although it is a very medicinal plant and has amazing benefits, it is addictive! Take cannabis away from a daily user and they will simply lose it. I think the plant is an alternative to many things that are harming society but at the same time if and when it becomes re scheduled hopefully some real studies can happen to verify these and many other claims.

            Not to open the can of worms but what about the chemical residue testing and heavy metals showing up in over 80% of the cannabis on the market in California since it isn’t as highly regulated as Nevada, Colorado & Mass. Chemical residues in food causes lack of blood flow as well. George I would suggest you actually dig in a little before opening up such cans of worms since the variances are drastic. No need to publish a 100 person study and suggest it merits exact findings.

  9. Tommy Tuttle says:

    Complaints that we’re “too quick to legalize” it are foolish, even if it isn’t harmless. Alcohol certainly isn’t harmless, but prohibition was (and is) a stupid response to that. Golly, this looks like a public health problem, better send the cops? That makes no sense whatsoever.

    Deal with health problems as health problems. Send doctors, send researchers, send scientists. Above all, spread real and honest information so people can make properly informed life choices.

  10. Ronna Berezin says:

    Dan Bolten has not lived long enough to discover the errors in his thinking …so why waste your time arguing with him? This irrational argumentative attitude and circular thinking is a diistinct characteristic of the pot user!

    • Dan Boltron says:

      How long do you think I’ve lived? You’d be very surprised. For the sake of fair argument, and not just name calling as you did with such class, please tell me what my circular logic is. I don’t think you’re reading what I wrote

  11. Ronna Berezin says:

    In response to Dan Boltron: Your photo makes you appear to be under the age of 50. Your reasoning though circular seems logical, but academic and not scientific. I am not a scientist so I can’t discuss scientific or medical information; All I can say is that you talk like the somewhat arrogant and self justifying 60’s pot smokers I used to know. Today all of them have compromised health!

    • Dan Bo says:

      I’m sorry to hear about your friends. But that is not everybody. I have a baby face. I am over 40. I have people I know who have been using for over 20 years and they are doing great. In addition look at Phil Jackson and Maya Angelou. Two undeniably successful people. I do not take kindly to scare mongering and twisting of facts by people who have an agenda. I have stated a blanked perspective on here; there are positive and negative effects of cannabis, like every other drug. We need to understand that and not go into full histrionics because Amen mentions Alzheimer’s twice in this article, while absolutely ZERO of the data points to any connection to Alzheimer’s. That is professionally irresponsible.

  12. MeowRia says:

    I read an article written very shortly after the election whère California legalized marijuana. It discussed marijuana being cultivated with varying amounts of THC, the component in pot that is responsible for the “high” that a person feels upon ingesting it. Of course, the higher of THC, the higher the high, and the higher the damaging effects of the pot. Marijuana IS beneficial to the body and psyche when the amount of THC is low. 10%-12% has been been cited as being the best amount to ease anxiety, improve memory, ease nausea, even relieve the pain of nerve damage such as one might find in lupus and diabetic foot pain. Plus, you don’t experience the “high”, so your brain stays clear. One clinical study said these low levels of THC don’t even show up in regular drug tests.
    Another thing of note is the amount of CBD oil, also known as Cannibidiol – the medicinal part of pot. Some marijuana growers have developed a version with just the right amount of each ingredient that can be purchased. And the CBD oil can be purchased in drops (sublingual) so you only get the health benefits and not the high.
    So, despite all these studies on the negatives, there have been clinical trials and research on the possitives going on at the same time!!!!

  13. Jon ... a Baptist says:

    Does ingested cannibas differ from smoked?

  14. Julie says:

    Having epilepsy all my life, I’ve been unable to handle the pharmaceuticals available for this. I often end up completely un-functional, sometimes I will even drool… Medical marijuana is the only thing I’ve found that actually stops the seizures without all the heavy side effects. I control the dose. I do not use it socially. Medical marijuana allows me to live my life like a normal person. While I respect Dr. Amen’s findings, I can’t help but feel he’s just glossing over a pesky nuisance issue. How does cannabis compare with other anti-seizure meds? Say Lamictal or Depakote.

    I’m just so tired of being villainized by this issue. If I didn’t have epilepsy, I wouldn’t take anything. I do agree that legalizing it for general consumption is a huge mistake.

  15. Mahhn says:

    Hmm. I should be a vegetable by now. So should many of my colleague. Some how we are successful engineers that have been smoking for many years. I did a search for a paper or presentation that had specifics of the article, guess it’s not public yet. So although I would like to criticize, there is nothing to say other than this short article leaves more questions than answers. Until there is specific information given on the study, it has the same credibility as the History Channel and their Ancient Aliens entertainment show.

  16. SecretMe2016 says:

    Thank you for you’re studies Dr. Amen.
    We need so much more done to stop so many from ruining their brains {Their Lives} from what so many kids and young adults now believe is {GOOD for Them} #SMH This upsets me so, It just breaks My Heart…. My son and All his friends believe this.

  17. SecretMe2016 says:

    It’s always the same thing in the comment area’s of Articles that tell the TRUTH about WEED BEING BAD FOR YOU.

    Many Potheads have to try to discredit the person who writes the article and/or does the study. Same Thing/Different Day. Unfortunately; I think it may just be too late for these people to see and think clearly~ Just the Pictures alone Prove the point!

  18. Kempdr says:

    It always amazes me how all the ‘pot users’ are always quick to condemn any research that may indicate that marijuana has harmful side effects.

    Dr Amen’s focus is on improving Brain Health and conducts studies in areas that impact people’s quality of life.
    You are free to accept or reject his findings. A wise person does not automatically reject information that may impact their well-being.

  19. No Dough says:

    So are all those posting in agreement that alcohol use is a fine drug and less side effects or that the costs of health ie.side effects from the consumption of Alcohol is better than the use of the mari?

  20. Eevie says:

    ahhh the weed haters. lol Go away. I prefer my weed to living on poisonous and highly addictive chemicals. People need to learn respect for others choices in life and then eff off.

  21. Carl Bodon says:

    if you are going to spread fake news you need to think of a better name than amenclinics. The name gives away your biased position.

  22. Alfred D Kulik MD FACS says:

    What does the SPECT scans show with “regular” tobacco smoking? Nicotine patches or non-combustible delivery methods?
    Additionally, we need to scan at both high and low doses of nicotine as well as variable THC:CBD ratios as the clinical effects do change accordingly

  23. Yvonne Forsman says:

    Dr Amen must not know that baby breast milk contains cannabis. Our physical body has receptors for cannabis! Some of our diseases may be a result of cannabis deficiency! I am sure if Dr Amen knew about the babies he would send an email to God and ask him to redesign babies! Hahahahaha! My previous respect for Dr Amen just dropped to minus one million.

  24. Bee says:

    Vivek Murthy is our Surgeon General

  25. Nicole says:

    Are there any empirically based articles about high CBD, low THC oils extracted from the pants that are grown solely for therapeutic purposes for conditions such as epilepsy, cancer, PTSD, Parkinson’s Disease? This oil doesn’t get people high and there are studies to support its effectiveness.

  26. Ramona Moonflower Rubin says:

    The third paragraph quotes a U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Gupta. Who is this?

    Is it U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy who says that marijuana “can be helpful” for some medical conditions. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/04/vivek-murthy-marijuana_n_6614226.html)

    Or is it the prominent Dr. Sanjay Gupta who through the course of researching and producing a documentary published this thoughtful apology on his earlier dismissal of the medical value of cannabis (http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/08/health/gupta-changed-mind-marijuana/).

    This article mixes these two prominent doctors names and flips their position. There just is no U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Gupta who can say such things.

    There is a recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease but the sample size is much smaller than the quoted “25,168 non-cannabis users, and 100 healthy controls”. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27886010?dopt=Abstract.
    The study includes persons with a diagnosis of cannabis use disorder by DSM-IV and DSM-V criteria (n = 982), which indicates that these are not health cannabis users but likely a population that are co-morbid for other psychiatric or addiction disorders. And only 92 controls, so even if there is a point, exaggerating by a factor of 273 only serves to cast doubt on this AmenClinic and their ability to contribute to science.

  27. Kevin Kordes says:

    How much you wanna bet that, if cannabis was never made illegal or used by “counter-culture” people such as jazz musicians, hippies or artists, that this discussion would never have taken place?

  28. Kevin Kordes says:

    Another thing too. What if cannabis did not cause euphoria? I have noticed that certain people have a bias against ANYTHING that makes you happy. There are many substances that are extremely dangerous to the body and brain that are not “burning issues” like cannabis. GMO food, fluoridated water, vaccines, big-pharma drugs, food preservatives, air pollution, water pollution, tobacco, etc. etc.
    And please, let’s stop calling cannabis “marijuana”. That’s like calling alcohol “booze” or “hootch” or some other vulgarity.

    • Bugz says:

      They affect the opiate industry, Big Pharma, Military Industrialist guarding the raw source of plants in Afghanistan (90% of the world’s supply), the Corporate USA Prisons and prison guard unions enforcing their Central Planning empire and preventing people from owning natural property already on their lands! The competition from natural property is what they do not want!
      The marijuana / Cannabis issue affects everyone because when we ignore the 5th, 9th and 10th amendments to the US Constitution we enable Central Planners to grow in power.
      5th Amendment: NO person shall be deprived of Life, Liberty or PROPERTY without due process of law; nor shall PRIVATE PROPERTY be taken for public use without just compensation.
      9th and 10 provide all other powers not in the Constitution to the STATEs.
      “All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void.” Marbury vs. Madison, 5 US (2 Cranch) 137, 174, 176 (1803).
      “Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them.” Miranda vs. Arizona, 384 US 436 p. 491.

      Genesis 1:29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”

      Use Cannabis or don’t, but if we allow our protections to be robbed, our liberties and property to be taken, we have all already sold our youth a lie! The same lie that says a nonlethal plant should be illegal while over 33,000 die from opiates each year in the country alone! Meanwhile 50% of teens surveyed believed “legal” prescription drugs were much safer than “illegal” drugs. ZERO people died from the direct consumption of Cannabis. WE ARE LYING TO OUR YOUTH AND SELLING THEM OUT!!!

      • Kevin Kordes says:

        Yes, I agree with you too! Property rights is the primary thing here but people need also to be educated about things that are really messing up our health. We can START with not putting fluoride in our drinking water! Fluoride is a deadly poison. Please watch “Fluoride: Poison on Tap” by Gary Null . It’s on You Tube.

        • Bugz says:

          Fluoride in water seems off-topic on a thread about blood flow to the brain from Cannabis, for a lot of reasons I will not even begin to list. Noted though and thanks for the suggestion! I drill my own water on my land, and I don’t fluoridate it. We as Americans should have great cause for concern however when armed men enter our homes to criminalize our families for life for sitting there peacefully with a plant! It is A COMMUNISM / FASCIST path to the benefit of pill pushers and those with nothing to lose to try to do the same for inflated prices on the streets! We have lost our souls and an unnatural demise will come to these people for their attack against people for nature itself!

  29. Bill Cass says:

    Started in 1965 had a career and have a pension. I’m a moderate user these days and I’m ok have never been better

  30. Irene Fizzell says:

    I find it slightly ironic that the FDA releases so many drugs that haven’t been tested for long periods only to find out later that they have severe side effects . Not sure if this article is referring to Medical Marijuana with high CBD and low/no THC?

  31. Suzi, LAMFT says:

    Okay all, I believe that there is good and bad depending on what you use THC or Cannibus for. My son came home from a second tour in the Army with a Traumatic Brain Injury and Severe PTSD. He had driven over a land mine. He was better off than his friends. A year after being back, they found 4 cancerous tumors in his lower spine and one in his liver and one in his kidney. Being a Vet, he went to where he was stationed originally and luckily they had a cancer center nearby that was willing to give him cannibus shots. He had 50 to 100 shots in his lower back daily for 6 weeks. He is now been cancer free for 1 year. I am so thankful that the cannibus saved my sons life. I also know that during his back pain, Marijuana with THC was the only thing after many other things tried that was able to take away his pain.
    On the other side, I work assisting young people ordered by the courts to get sober from smoking Marijuana. I get the studies that show brain damage. I get the loss of memory from years of abuse. My thoughts are that we need to follow the law where we need too and use the portions of Marijuana that help us in our own situations. Read the research and make an informed decision. We have no right to judge anyone else that has not walked in our shoes.

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