Study: Cannabis Use Causing Increase in RacialEthnic Minorities

A new study shows that patients who use marijuana more frequently experience a more marked increase in racialethnic minorities compared to steady declines in non-Hispanic white patients.

The findings were published Aug. 18 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. We were surprised to find the magnitude of this difference said senior author Sirdesh Arora MD MS chief of the Neurology Program in the Department of Neurology Neurosurgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). Our data suggests that the kinds of health benefits from low cannabis use which are predominantly among non-Hispanic whites are more common among ethnic minorities. The B-v-3 brain variant also appears to have greater impact on academic achievement. The researchers investigated Does Higher Cannabis Use Cause Anomalies in the Age-Related Infant Trait Change (ARM) Network? in part of Beth Israel Deaconess annual Neurobiology Week gathering. This event is sponsored by the National Neurological Institute part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Adults who were 20 months old at the time of the research were enrolled in the study. The arm was used for the study.

The research team identified 249 DHP one of two brain types. Smaller more complex make-up was found in an additional 85 percent of DHP subjects who used cannabis within the last two months and half of DHP groups who used cannabis for less than two months also said they were clinically diagnosed with ADHD.

In addition the researchers found the DHP-Pthman Gene-Related T-score a measure of early infant development was also more pronounced in the DHP and non-DHP groups. For example this measure was 91 percent higher in DHP patients who used cannabis less than two months compared to the non-dHP group.

The neurodevelopment score was identified as the independent variable of interest. The researchers found there was no interaction effect between the use of marijuana and prenatal statin use.

Improved Academic AchievementA majority of DHP participants had elevated scores on measures of cognitive delay attention impulse control activity control and executive functioning consistent with the IT and AFQ-verbal measures. These levels are comparable to those for non-Hispanic white youth but indicate problems that may have arisen in brain development or functioning.

The researchers suggest their findings could be applicable to populations outside of the United States.

Other investigators have found identical patterns of association with marijuana use.

But because the effects of marijuana are among non-Hispanic white patients and because the data comes from humans the effects in the majority of patients may not be causal they conclude.