Although there’s a lot of buzz about marijuana being nonaddictive, the evidence is stacking up that people can ”” and do ”” become dependent on the drug. A study released earlier this year, for example, found that 40 percent of marijuana users in an outpatient treatment program showed signs of withdrawal, a classic indicator of addiction. Now, new research in the journal PNAS sheds light on how lighting up changes the brain ”” and potentially primes people for withdrawal.
It’s long been known that exposure to THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient in pot, can lead to changes in the brain. Problem is, different studies have shown different structural alterations, making it difficult to pinpoint exactly how the stuff affects people mentally. That’s why a group of researchers decided to use three different magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques to examine the brains of 48 chronic marijuana users and 62 nonusers, while also assessing IQ and negative life consequences of pot smoking.