Cannabis is a psychoactive drug commonly known as marijuana and has been linked to disturbances in brain and memory. This research by University of Bristol researchers has shown that consuming cannabis could lead to bad and incorrect coordination of brain activity during the changed state of mind. This may pave the path to neurophysiological and behavioral damage as observed in schizophrenia.
The study essentially gauges if the hazardous effects of cannabis on memory and cognition is due to disorchestrated brain networks. The rhythmic activity of the brain is similar to an orchestra where the tuning of brain waves enables the processing of information that guides our thinking and behavior patterns.
Dr Jones, lead author and MRC Senior Non-clinical Fellow at the University, commented, “Marijuana abuse is common among sufferers of schizophrenia and recent studies have shown that the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana can induce some symptoms of schizophrenia in healthy volunteers. These findings are therefore important for our understanding of psychiatric diseases, which may arise as a consequence of ‘disorchestrated brains’ and could be treated by re-tuning brain activity.”
Using top notch technologies, the team calculated electrical activity of a multitude of neurons in the brains of mice that were given a drug similar to marijuana. As far as individual brain regions were concerned, the differences noticed were less significant. However, cumulatively, co-ordination of brain waves across the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex was perturbed thoroughly.
These portions are crucial for memory and decision making and hold prominence in the realm of schizophrenia. This effect resulted in the rats becoming unable to take correct decisions while they were moving around in a maze.
The researchers believe that the findings could help them comprehend the rhythmic activity in the brain that is the underlying factor responsible for health and disease. The research is published in the Journal of Neuroscience.