Would you describe your brain as “noisy”? Researchers may have started to unravel why. One study in particular suggests regular marijuana use could be the causes of restless brainwave activity.
One study found that frequent marijuana use can increase cortical activity and connectivity, which supports other studies that show increased connections between brain regions in the brains of persistent cannabis consumers.
Connections are great but they can result in neural deficiency due to an overly noisy system. While cannabis with THC use was associated with greater theta, beta, and gamma wave activity, it was also linked to decreased delta wave activity—the waves that give us a more vigilant brain state.
Neural activity changes may relate to some of the cognitive impairments associated with cannabis with THC use, Shikha Prashad, lead author and student at the University of Texas at Dallas.
Prashad’s team of researchers used electroencephalography to monitor the brain activity of 38 volunteers—17 regular marijuana users and 21 non-users though the time of last use for the regular users varied—in a resting state. The results suggest that regular marijuana use leaves marks on the brain, even when sober. However, the results show only the very short-term effects of marijuana use. A follow-up study would be needed to determine if the results are consistent over a longer period.
Also unclear is whether the changes in brain activity are a direct effect of the drug itself or a consequence of substance use.