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Smoking Marijuna May Lead to Brain Changes, Study Says

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Some people might want to rethink their views about marijuana being relatively harmless, a new study from medical school researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests.

Anne Blood, a senior study co-author, said, "There is this general perspective out there that using marijuana recreationally is not a problem -- that it is a safe drug. We are seeing that this is not the case."

For the study, the researchers examined the parts of the brain that control emotion and motivation of people ages 18-25 who don't smoke pot and those who use it casually.

What they found was abnormalities in two neural regions of the brains of the marijuana smokers, even those who use as little as the equivalent of one joint a week.

More studies will be necessary to determine how this reshaping of the brain might affect pot smokers over the long-term but for now the researchers say the findings indicate that those who believe marijuana isn't harmful may be in for a rude awakening.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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