How cannabis and cannabis-based drugs harm the brain

Through the legalisation in several countries of cannabis or cannabis-based drugs, there is an increased number of long-term users and more potent varieties are available for recreational users. It is already known that heavy, regular cannabis use increases the risk of developing mental health problems including psychosis and schizophrenia. However, there is still little understanding of the potential negative side effects of long-term cannabinoid exposure.

Now, the research group led by Ana Sebastião in collaboration with Neil Dawson and his team at Lancaster University studied the effects of a specific cannabinoid drug (named WIN 55,212-2) and found that mice exposed for long-term to the drug had “significant memory impairments” and could not even discriminate between a familiar and novel object. Also, brain imaging studies showed that the drug impairs function in key brain regions involved in learning and memory. Moreover, the long-term exposure to the drug impairs the ability of brain

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