The Institute of Psychiatry study gave THC, CBD or placebo capsules to adult male volunteers who had not abused cannabis.
They then carried out brain scans, and a battery of tests, and found that those who took THC showed reduced activity in an area of the brain called the inferior frontal cortex, which keeps inappropriate thoughts and behaviour, such as swearing and paranoia in check.
The effects were short-lived, but some people appeared more vulnerable than others.
In a second study, a team from Yale University administered THC intravenously.
Even at relatively low doses, they found 50% of healthy volunteers began to show symptoms of psychosis.
Volunteers who already had a history of psychotic symptoms appeared to be particularly vulnerable.
Like most of my science posts I don’t have any political agenda to push here. If pot contains chemicals that have promise in medicine then I think it deserves research just like any other potential cure. In the spirit of full disclosure I’m wearing a pair of hemp pants right now, and it seems like a pure shame that the cotton biz has succeeded so well in keeping this great material down. Looking back at a fairly normal youth in America, all of my scary pot stories involve either the fact that it is illegal or people doing crazy things under the influence of either some additional drug or their own underlying craziness. So call me lukewarm when it comes to the dangers of wacky tabacky, and hopeful about the potential good from destigmatized research and industrial use.
I certainly wouldn’t classify pot in the same category as serious habit formers like heroin and cocaine or mind benders like LSD or psilocybin. But given our almost total knowledge vacuum about what cannibinoid molecules do inside the brain, treating them as harmless makes little sense either.