Marijuana doesn’t appear to shrink important regions of the brains of users, but a study published Wednesday shows something possibly more subtle and important. Namely, the brains of people who tend to use marijuana may be smaller to start with. A second study found that marijuana appears to change the brain structure of young men with a high genetic risk of schizophrenia. The studies were both published in the Psychiatry Journal of the American Medical Association. Dr. David Goldman of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says the studies don’t paint a clear picture of anything. Goldman said, “It could be nutrition, it could be stress exposures, it could be a lot of different things.” However, the findings add to a body of studies showing that marijuana use in the teen years, when the brain is still developing, can alter that development.
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