Alcohol is more harmful to the brain than cannabis according to a new study published by the medical journal Addiction.
Psychology and neuroscience researchers at the University of Colorado-Boulder examined 850 adults and 430 adolescents and concluded that alcohol, but not cannabis, led to a decrease in brain grey and white substances.
The “grey matter” controls the functioning of the brain while the “white matter” is responsible for communication within the nervous system.
A decrease in these two brain substances can lead to brain function disorders, but this decrease has not been observed in people who have only used cannabis.
“While cannabis can also have negative consequences, it is certainly far from the negative consequences of alcohol,” writes study co-author Kent Hutchinson in Medical News Today.
However, the author of the study, Rachel Thayer, warns that the way cannabis affects the brain is still poorly understood, unlike the action of alcohol. The authors also note that publications on the effect of cannabis on the brain often contradict each other.
“When you look back at these studies from years ago, you see that one study reports that cannabis use is related to a reduction in hippocampus volume [a region associated with memory and emotions] … The next study comes in, and says that cannabis use is related to changes in the cerebellum or whatever,” explains Hutchinson.