As more U.S. states consider legalizing marijuana use, science serves up a bongful of buzzkill. New research links pot use with abnormally low blood flow in the brain, which may boost the risk for Alzheimer’s.
Published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, the study by Amen Clinics researchers looked at brain scans of 26,268 patients at neuropsychiatric clinics across the U.S. between 1995 and 2005. Nearly 1,000 were marijuana users.
Compared to healthy control scans, the marijuana users had markedly lower blood flow in the right hippocampus, an area essential for forming memories. “As a physician who routinely sees marijuana users, what struck me was not only the global reduction in blood flow in the marijuana users brains, but that the hippocampus was the most affected region due to its role in memory and Alzheimer’s disease,” said co-author Elisabeth Jorandby, M.D.