Melbourne: Persistent heavy marijuana use damages the brain’s memory and learning capacity, Australian scientists have proved.They also showed for the first time the earlier people developed their cannabis habit, the worse the damage.Scientists from Melbourne’s Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI), Melbourne University and Wollongong University used Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to scan the brains of 59 people who had been using marijuana for 15 years on average.The images were compared with scans of 33 healthy people who had never used the drug.The scans showed long-term heavy cannabis users had disruptions in their white matter fibres, said senior researcher Dr Marc Seal of MCRI.There was a reduction in the volume of white matter of more than 80 per cent in the users studied, Dr Seal said.While the average age participants started using marijuana was 16, some began as young as 10 or 11 and were more seriously affected.
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