Marijuana Changes Brains: I Told You So!
It is time once again for my semi-regular harangue on the subject of pot. I have several blogs in which I have risked the wrath of those who believe it is their libertarian free born American right to smoke dope, I mean pot.J I have also been chastised by those who believe that it should be their right as a Christian to smoke marijuana if it is not against the law. Somehow they think whacky tobacchy (as a friend of mine once called it) fits well in the Paul’s Romans 14 construct of Christian Liberty.
I have consistently warned anyone who will listen that there is little to nothing good about humans smoking marijuana. I’ve spent the better part of 4 decades telling patients that if they smoke tobacco it will kill them. Why people think that smoking marijuana will be harmless is beyond my understanding. I have listened to people give personal testimony to the medicinal benefits of smoking marijuana or consuming marijuana laced products. I have said and continue to say that real research on medical benefits of cannabis should be done for the few it might help.
On the other hand for the general public marijuana is a danger. Research published today shows what many of us have noticed in friends or loved ones who regularly smoke weed. They change. Their personalities change. The abilities to think, their desire to work, and their memories are affected. The reason they change is that even once a week use of marijuana appears to change the human brain.
The study examined the brains of young people who smoked marijuana at least once a week and those who did not. MRI Brain-scans were used to look for changes. What the researchers found was that two areas of the brain changed as compared to non-users. The nucleus accumbens and the amygdala thickened. “These data suggest that marijuana exposure, even in young recreational users, is associated with exposure-dependent alterations of the neural matrix…” In other words it changes your brain!
In a study published in December of 2013, it was shown that areas of the brain that support memory were changed in heavy users of marijuana and that those changes remained even after 2 years of abstinence from pot. The current study would indicate that smoking marijuana for any reason is a threat to the ability to think.
There may be individuals with seizure disorders that will not respond to anything but the CBD portion of Marijuana and individuals in that situation should be able to use the drug in a form that does not require smoking. But, for the rest of us with normal healthy brains, marijuana poses real danger.
We know that 25% of young people who regularly smoke pot will be addicted and many of them will suffer brain changes that result in psychosis. Why would any Christian support the use, sale and taxation of recreational marijuana?
Paul specifically tells us in Ephesians 5:18 to not be drunk with wine but be filled/controlled by the Holy Spirit. Paul is telling us that Christians should not give themselves over to the control of addictive substances. We should certainly not use substances such as marijuana that damage the body that God has given us to serve Him. It reminds of wise words an old friend told me once. “Will you be able to serve the Lord better if you make that choice, or serve Him better if you do not?”
So, the question for the believer must be will I be able to serve God better intoxicated with marijuana, or sober?
Here is the link to the post on Dr. Hodges blog that has live footnotes included.
24 thoughts on “An Important post from Dr. Charles Hodges, author of Good Mood Bad Mood”
Can you provide a link to the research? I would love to show it to those nay-sayers..
“There may be individuals with seizure disorders that will not respond to anything but the CBD portion of Marijuana and individuals in that situation should be able to use the drug in a form that does not require smoking.”
I have to say this. I totally agree about the smoking of this substance. It is very dangerous and no we, as Christians are NOT to be intoxicated by anything. On the other hand, this plant *does* have medicinal values, but NOT through smoking it. It can be made into an infusion or an oil and used. In those forms, it is not intoxicating, but still should only be used for medicinal reasons. The step daughter of a friend of mine is using Cannabis oil to help w/brain cancer. It really is helping her! The tumors are shrinking! She was given 1 week or less to live and now they’ve upped to 1+ years and it’s improving. Again, though, NOT smoking it! All of these claims that “smoking it for medicinal reasons are beneficial,” IMHO, are just excuses to smoke it for the euphoric sensations. Still Cannabis or Marijuana as we know it, even in its other forms, absolutely needs to be used responsibly, preferably under the supervision of a health care professional.
Okay so I have a friend who smokes pot and he tries to argue the point of Genesis 1:29 where God says ” I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.” And well He uses this verse to justify him smoking pot. Now I know He is twisting this verse around. How do I discuss the topic with him?
Kayla – here is one response:
God did give us these plants. But some plants that bear seeds are poisonous. So, discretion is to used in how we use these plants. In light of the research now being done now there is good reason to be cautious about the use of this drug
Marijuana is not a poisionous plant.
Just because it does not kill you the 1st time you take it(however you take it) does not mean it’s not poisonous !!
smoking is not food
let me refer you back to Dr. Hodges post and you can ask him directly.
I like your article and would like to share it with someone that smokes. Can you please update you article by placing the reference the research at the end. Thank you.
Debbie, here is the link to Dr. Hodges post:
I can’t get off the weed, because if I do I will start having seizures. It takes months before it goes away I have to drivedo you know where you can get the CBD form so that you don’t have to smoke it I would love to get off at it. And if only having the CBD does that take the memory and other side effects?
Melissa, please direct your question to Dr. Hodges at:
Thank you for commenting.
It is true that God did give us all seed bearing plants. But not all are for consumption – some plants are poisonous. So we have to use discretion about which plants to use and not to use. Dr. Hodges post provides new research that indicates there is good reason to be concerned about using pot.
Here are the research references for this article for those who have an interest. This documented peer reviewed research.
M. Gilman, John K. Kuster, Sang Lee, Myung Joo Lee, Byoung Woo Kim,
Nikos Makris, Andre Van Der Kouwe, Anne J. Blood and Hans C. Breiter. Cannabis Use is Quantitatively Associated with Nucleus Accumbens and Amygdala Abnormalities in Young Adult Recreational Users. Journal of Neuroscience, April 16, 2014 (in press)
for Neuroscience (SfN). “Brain changes associated with casual marijuana
use in young adults: More ‘joints’ equal more damage.” ScienceDaily.
ScienceDaily, 15 April 2014.
University. “Casual marijuana use linked to brain abnormalities in
students: Dramatic effects of small time use; more ‘joints’ equal more
damage.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2014.
I did a lot of drugs and pot too from 16-21( when I was not yet saved, at 23 I gave my life over) years I’m 31 now. I’m at this point (I’m a very commited Christian now) where I have an awareness of my changed brain because of the chemical use and it makes me sad.
Confirmed psychosis isn’t a stretch at all. There have been lots of studies confirming those findings. Take the ones that say that marijuana increases the possibility of developing schizophrenia when smoking before the age of 17. It has only been recently that people have been trying to prove otherwise, or rather, ignoring those findings for preferable alternatives.
As someone who went to Federal Prison for growing Marijuana and smoking it right up to the time I came back to the Lord, I can tell you one thing; God got me off Marijuana. He was key in getting me off Marijuana and I cannot praise him enough for it! Lets look at Sorcery in the bible: The Greek word “pharmakia” literally means “drugs”, and appears five times in the New
Testament: in Gal 5:20, Rev 9:21, 18:23, 21:8, and 22:15. “Pharmakia”
is translated into our English Bible as either “witchcraft” or “sorceries”. We also get our English word “pharmacy” from the Greek word “pharmakia”. In each of the above five passages, “pharmakia”, or “drugs” is listed as a work of the flesh of man as opposed to the Spirit of God working in us.
In other words Jesus don’t want you smoking Weed!!!!
The exegetical application in this text is accurate. Thank you!
I could go on that that is a story is for a book.
It says the plants are given us for food. Not to smoke. It also says we are to treat our body as the temple of God. Whatever we put into it we are reflecting on God. Why would anyone want to put things in their body like smoke. Yeah it helps with medicinal purpose alright. Its called getting high and not feeling the pain.
My simple conclusion based on personal experience is that grass is a basic party tool and it breaks down good moral character – why change your mind by putting something in your body with no understanding of its potential consequences? I was a heavy substance abuser for 25 years. All substances. In 9th grade I started with wine&beer and smoking a lot of mara-hooch. Then came skunk-weed. Down the road, smoking pot resulted in panic. I have lots of friends who think they have some real special benefit from it. One of them will possibly never get out of prison, and another has disappeared (he used to wear tin-foil pyramid hats – honestly!). And still another one seems to think the president is real cool. We are talking about old people who should know better. You bet it affects your brain!
Thank you for your testimony. I hope that it helps someone else realize the harm it does.