29 Nov High Potency Skunk Cannabis Alters White Matter of Brain
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Silvia Rigucci MD
Department of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Sensory Organs
Sapienza University of Rome
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr Rigucci: Nowadays, ‘skunk-like’ products contain more Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) than they did around a decade ago and they have been shown to induce psychotic symptoms. Therefore, exploring the impact of cannabis potency on brain structure is becoming particularly important.
We found that frequent use of high potency cannabis significantly affects the structure of white matter fibers in the brain, independently of the presence of a psychotic disorder.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr Rigucci: For all clinicians it is extremely important to gather information on how often and what type of cannabis is being used. This might have an impact on brain structure and, as others have previously shown, might significantly affect response to antipsychotic treatments.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr Rigucci: There is an urgent need to educate health professionals, the public and policymakers about the risks involved with cannabis use.
Of course, we don’t have yet a complete awareness of how the brain might be affected by new drugs of abuse. Being the first to look at effects on brain structure of new high potency products, our study might pave the way for further research on this field.
Rigucci, T. R. Marques, M. Di Forti, H. Taylor, F. Dell’Acqua, V. Mondelli, S. Bonaccorso, A. Simmons, A. S. David, P. Girardi, C. M. Pariante, R. M. Murray, P. Dazzan. Effect of high-potency cannabis on corpus callosum microstructure.
Psychological Medicine, 2015; 1 DOI:10.1017/S0033291715002342
Dr Silvia Rigucci MD (2015). High Potency Skunk Cannabis Alters White Matter of Brain