New Study Suggests Cannabis Users Experience ‘Noisy Brain’ During Rest

In other words, they activated different brain waves when sleeping.

Marijuana sleep
Photo by Dalina Rahman/EyeEm/Getty Images

When getting ready to hit the hay, the last thing a cannabis imbiber usually does, besides check their phone, is smoke a little weed to get in that dreamy mood. Indica has been lauded for its ability to help people — especially the very ill — get much needed rest. A new study, however, shows cortical activation during times of rest, compared to sober individuals.

One of the implications of what’s been termed “noisy brain” is that cannabis users exhibited increased synchronization — or activation — of most of the different brain waves. The scientists make the connection between the “noisy brain” activity in cannabis users in repose to similar results that happened with the addictive use of other drugs, like heroin and cocaine.

Whenever a new study comes out, though, the first place to look is where the funding is coming from. Because of cannabis’ status as a Schedule I drug in the U.S., getting money to research it takes a lot of work, and often the kind of work that aims at furthering drug war propaganda. Think, “This is your brain on drugs.”

In the case of the study titled, “Increased cortical activation in cannabis users’ brains in resting state, research suggests,” published September 5 in Science Daily, researchers were funded through a grant by the National Institutes of Health. One quick visit to the NIH website shows their blatant stance on marijuana; they go so far as to suggest people visiting their site continue to research cannabis further on the National Institute on Drug Abuse site. True tell.

However, the real conclusion of the study was that more studies are needed, and that part is true. More studies need to be done, without the bias of dollars, where they came from, and what they seem to imply: Seek negative results or forget funding.

Then again, perhaps these are truly concerned scientists who just aren’t quite sure if “noisy brain” is detrimental or not. They are likely correct when they say that it takes a little extra time to wind down when the popular sativa dominant strains are used. Maybe even with potent indica, the strains do stimulate thought, but to imply that having extra activity in the brain is intrinsically bad is to do a disservice to the research as a whole and its many implications.

More research is happening around the world as cannabis eases its way into the full spotlight. Our own government is unquestionably behind the times with their federal ban on cannabis, whilst 31 states and the District of Columbia have legalized or medicalized in some form, but as the herb continues to garner attention, perhaps the administration will see the green light, drop the scheduling and thus give the go ahead to researchers across the board.

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