A major story in marijuana-related news during the short holiday week comes from a study by King’s College in Pennsylvania where researchers reported a correlation between smoking a high-potency strain of cannabis called “skunk” with changes in the white-matter connections between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Other earlier studies have linked marijuana to psychosis and schizophrenia. In this recent study, the damage to the white-matter was present in skunk smokers regardless of whether or not the users showed symptoms of psychosis.
Skunk is a widely-used term for marijuana with a THC content exceeding 10% and in some cases approaching 30%. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.
The study’s author, Paola Dazzan, told Forbes:
We found that frequent use of high potency cannabis significantly affects the structure of white matter fibres in the brain, whether you have psychosis or not. This reflects a sliding scale where the more cannabis you smoke and the higher the potency, the worse the damage will be.
It is important to note that the correlation does not demonstrate causation. Still, the study does indicate that high-potency cannabis could be related to psychosis, and that should be enough to give users a reason to think harder about their practices.
Here are other important news stories for the week.
Banking on the Marijuana Industry?
It is legal to sell marijuana in 23 states. But pot businesses can’t deposit their money in banks because of federal banking laws. While the dilemma has been a back-burner issue in Congress for several years, a solution may be in the works.
A provision in the upcoming financial services spending bill would prevent the federal government from spending money on penalizing financial institutions that accept legal marijuana businesses as clients. That would greatly reduce the ability of federal agencies’ to prosecute the banks.
Increased access to banking would, in turn, decrease the currently cash-only businesses’ risk of robbery by allowing customers to pay with debit and credit cards, reduce the likelihood that the business could be used as a money-laundering front and solve the nightmare of trying to pay taxes with cash.
Read more at U.S. News & World Report.