Smoking Skunk Cannabis ‘Could Damage Your Brain’, Study Finds

People who smoke it regularly could be at risk


Regularly smoking high-strength ‘skunk’ cannabis could damage nerve fibres which transmit messages in your brain, scientists say.

Brain scans of drug users found differences in the white matter which connects the two halves of the brain.

The same changes were not seen in people who did not use cannabis, or who only smoked less potent strains of the drug.

‘Skunk’ cannabis has much higher levels of THC, the ‘active ingredient’ in cannabis responsible for the ‘high’.

Paola Dazzan, a neurobiologist at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, said, ‘If you look at the corpus callosum, what we’re seeing is a significant difference in the white matter between those who use high potency cannabis and those who never use the drug, or use the low-potency drug.’

‘That reflects a problem in the white matter that ultimately makes it less efficient. We don’t know exactly what it means for the person, but it suggests there is less efficient transfer of information.

‘It is possible that these people already have a different brain and they are more likely to use cannabis. But what we can say is if it’s high potency, and if you smoke frequently, your brain is different from the brain of someone who smokes normal cannabis, and from someone who doesn’t smoke cannabis at all.’