Heavy Marijuana Use Doesn't Damage Brain
Analysis of Studies Finds Little Effect From Long-Term Use
WebMD News Archive
10 States OK Marijuana Use continued...
Grant says he did the analysis to help determine long-term
toxicity from long-term and frequent marijuana use. His center is currently
conducting 11 studies to determine its safety and efficacy in treating several
"This finding enables us to see a marginal level of safety, if
those studies prove that cannabis can be effective," Grant tells WebMD. "If we
barely find this effect in long-term heavy users, then we are unlikely to see
deleterious side effects in individuals who receive cannabis for a short time
in a medical setting, which would be safer than what is practiced by street
Grant's findings come as no surprise to Tod Mikuriya, MD,
former director of non-classified marijuana research for the National Institute
of Mental Health Center for Narcotics and Drug Abuse Studies and author of
The Marijuana Medical Handbook: A Guide to Therapeutic Use. He is
currently president of the California Cannabis Medical Group, which has treated
some 20,000 patients with medicinal marijuana and Marinol.
'Highly Effective Medicine'
"I just re-published a paper of the first survey for marijuana
toxicity done in 1863 by the British government in India that was the most
exhaustive medical study of its time in regards to possible difficulties and
toxicity of cannabis. And it reached the same conclusion as Grant," Mikuriya
"This is merely confirming what was known over 100 years ago,
as well as what was learned by various government findings doing similar
research -- marijuana is not toxic, but it is a highly effective medicine."
In fact, marijuana was available as a medicinal treatment in
the U.S. until the 1930s.
Lester Grinspoon, MD, a retired Harvard Medical School
psychiatrist who studied medicinal marijuana use since the 1960s and wrote two
books on the topic, says that while Grant's finding provides more evidence on
its safety, "it's nothing that those of us who have been studying this haven't
known for a very long time.
"Marijuana is a remarkably safe and non-toxic drug that can
effectively treat about 30 different conditions," he tells WebMD. "I predict it
will become the aspirin of the 21st century, as more people