Restoring ‘Brain Health’ in Cannabis Users: An Exercise Intervention Study
Can exercise reverse the effect that long-term cannabis use has on the brain?
When people use cannabis very regularly for many years it can have a negative impact on the health of their brain. A small structure deep within the brain called the hippocampus (a key brain region for memory, learning, and emotional processing) is particularly vulnerable to the effects of heavy cannabis use.
The good news is that the brain harms caused by long-term cannabis use can be reversed. The challenge is that it takes a very long time, two years or more of abstinence. Many regular cannabis users struggle to quit for this long, so the BMH team are working to discover strategies that speed up the process of brain health recovery.
One such strategy may be exercise! Regular exercise has a positive effect on physical and mental health, and can increase the size of the hippocampus. It’s not yet known how much or what kind of exercise produces the best results. This study will compare the effects of two different exercise programs to investigate whether the programs have a positive impact on brain health and, if they do, whether one is more effective than the other.