Smoking of cannabis ages the brain by 2.8 years on average

– A new research report published in the journal of Alzheimer's disease has shown that cannabis smoking ages on average by almost three years, reports Daily Post.

According to New York Post marijuana appeared to boost brain aging by 2.8 years, making it worse for the mind than a bipolar disorder or attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity.

The brains of schizophrenics were found to age with an even higher average of four years.

Boozing also appeared to age the organ by 0.6 years, the research adds.

Brain aging is defined as a reduced blood flow through the organ.

Dr. Daniel Amen, founder of Amen Clinics, said: "Finding cannabis misuse was especially important because our culture begins to see marijuana as a harmless substance, and this study should pause on that."

Reduced brain flow has previously been associated with strokes and dementia.

The researchers analyzed 62,454 brain scans of 31,227 people.

Scans were collected during both rest and concentration and were taken from people between the ages of nine months and 105 years old to determine factors that contribute to brain aging.

Researchers analyzed the blood flow through 128 regions of each brain to determine how old they thought the individual was.

Once they learned the actual age of the person, they could measure the speed of accelerated aging.

Dr. George Perry, from the University of Texas, San Antonio, commented on the study and said, "This is one of the first population-based imaging studies, and these major studies are essential to answering how to maintain brain structure and function during aging."

The results also suggest that bipolar disorder accelerates brain aging by 1.6 years, and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) accelerates by 1.4 years.

No association was found between depression and brain aging.

Amen adds: "Based on one of the largest brain scans ever done, we can now identify common disorders and behaviors that prematurely age the brain.

"Better treatment of these conditions can slow down or even stop the process of brain aging."

Study author, Sachit Egan, from Google, a partner in the study, added: "The results indicate that we can predict the age of an individual based on patterns of cerebral blood flow.

"In addition, basic principles have been laid to further investigate how common psychiatric disorders can influence healthy patterns of brain haemorrhage."

The findings were published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

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