Connect with us

Health

Smoking Pot Changes the Way You Look at Money, Study Finds

Published

on

Like this article? Get the latest from The Mind Unleashed in your inbox. Sign up right here.

A new study came to a thought-provoking conclusion that smoking marijuana alters the way the human brain responds to money.

Researchers of the University of Michigan Medical School conducted a four-year study that involved 108 people in their early 20s. For the purpose of the study, the participants were asked to play a game in which they could potentially win a small amount of money. They had to click a button every time they saw a target on the screen and they were told that, based on their performance, they could win 20 cents or $5; lose the same amounts of money; or have no reward or loss.

During the game, the participants’ brains were connected to an fMRI scanner aimed to monitor the activity in the nucleus accumbens, the area of the brain that regulates the response to rewards.

At the moment when a person is anticipating any kind of reward, including money, the cells in this brain area are activated and release dopamine also known as “reward chemical” or “pleasure chemical.” Thus, the stronger the response in the nucleus accumbens is and the more dopamine is released, the more pleasure a person feels.

As a result, chronic marijuana users exhibited a weaker response to reward than the participants who smoke pot less frequently or didn’t use it at all. So, the more marijuana a person smokes, the weaker their brain response to a money reward is.

Now, the question is: is it a good or a bad thing? The authors of the study interpret these results in the way that is most favorable to the official point of view on smoking pot: they say that the study proves that marijuana is a highly addictive drug that changes a person’s behavior and causes problems with emotional functioning.

Mary Heitzeg, study author and an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School, told Live Science:

“There is not as much pleasure that is being received from something that would naturally give somebody pleasure.”

However, don’t forget that the study was focused only on receiving money and didn’t measure the brain responses to any other kinds of reward or sources of pleasure, including smoking pot itself.

So why is it considered “natural” that money should give everyone the same amount of pleasure and a person who doesn’t actively respond to a money reward is viewed as a sort of damaged? I really don’t agree with this statement and don’t see the results of this study as proof of how harmful marijuana is.

Quite the opposite – these results could also mean that pot smokers just give less importance to the money, which is not bad at all. Still, it makes sense why the mainstream science interprets these results this way – our society is based on greed and material values, so a weak response to money is regarded as a negative thing. And if we also take into account the stigma that has surrounded marijuana for decades, it becomes clear why the study with quite limited results received this kind of generalization.

What do you think about this study and what is your point of view on its results? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Image source: High Times

Typos, corrections and/or news tips? Email us at [email protected]

Health

3D-Printed ‘Suicide Pod’ Gets Legal Approval in Switzerland, Could Roll Out In 2022

Published

on

Like this article? Get the latest from The Mind Unleashed in your inbox. Sign up right here.

Switzerland is among a small group of countries, mainly in Europe, that allows for people to end their own lives under strict provisions through the assistance of a licensed physician.

However, one company in the Alpine nation is hoping to streamline legalized euthanasia by removing doctors from the process through a new invention that allows people to end their own lives quickly and painlessly. And now, the device has passed an important review by Swiss legal authorities.

Nonprofit company Exit International has produced a 3D-printed suicide chamber dubbed the “Sarco,” reports  Swiss Broadcasting Corporation. The 21st-century sarcophagus-like machine could roll out as soon as 2022.

Those faced with terminal disease and other excruciating physical conditions, as well as severe psychological pain, will be able to make a clean exit from this mortal coil by lying comfortably inside the small chamber. At the press of a button, the chamber will then fill with nitrogen gas, depriving them of oxygen and terminating their life in 30 seconds.

“There is no panic, no choking feeling,” said Philip Nitschke, the nonprofit’s founder who has been dubbed “Dr. Death” by media.

The chamber is also easy to transport, allowing people to end their lives wherever they choose – be it in a cabin in the forest, at the beach, or anywhere else they might choose.

The device is controversial, however, due to the fact that it removes medical professionals from the process of euthanasia. However, Exit International hopes that it can develop an AI-assisted online exam that can gauge the mental acuity of those who wish to use Sarco.

“We want to remove any kind of psychiatric review from the process and allow the individual to control the method themselves,” Nitschke explained.

If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide and live in the United States, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). You can find a list of helpful resources at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources. Resources in other countries can be found here.

Typos, corrections and/or news tips? Email us at [email protected]

Continue Reading

Health

Biden to Ban Menthol Cigarettes, Citing Health Impact on Youth and Black People

Published

on

Like this article? Get the latest from The Mind Unleashed in your inbox. Sign up right here.

The Biden administration is reportedly planning to propose an immediate ban on menthol cigarettes, a product that has long been targeted by anti-smoking advocates and critics who claim that the tobacco industry has aggressively marketed to Black people in the U.S.

On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the administration could announce a ban on menthol and other flavored cigarettes as soon as this week.

Roughly 85 percent of Black smokers use such menthol brands as Newport and Kool, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Research has also found that menthol cigarettes are easier to become addicted to and harder to quit than unflavored tobacco products, along with other small cigars popular with young people and African Americans.

Civil rights advocates claim that the decision should be greeted by Black communities and people of color who have been marketed to by what they describe as the predatory tobacco industry.

Black smokers generally smoke far less than white smokers, but suffer a disproportionate amount of deaths due to tobacco-linked diseases like heart attack, stroke, and other causes.

Anti-smoking advocates like Matthew L. Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, also greeted the move to cut out products that appeal to children and young adults.

“Menthol cigarettes are the No. 1 cause of youth smoking in the United States,” he said. “Eliminating menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars used by so many kids will do more in the long run to reduce tobacco-related disease than any action the federal government has ever taken.”

However, groups including the American Civil Liberties Group (ACLU) has opposed the move, citing the likelihood that such an action could lead to criminal penalties arising from the enforcement of a ban hitting communities of color hardest.

In a letter to administration officials, the ACLU and other groups including the Drug Policy Alliance said that while the ban is “no doubt well-intentioned” it would also have “serious racial justice implications.”

“Such a ban will trigger criminal penalties, which will disproportionately impact people of color, as well as prioritize criminalization over public health and harm reduction,” the letter explained. “A ban will also lead to unconstitutional policing and other negative interactions with local law enforcement.”

Typos, corrections and/or news tips? Email us at [email protected]

Continue Reading

Environment

Pollution Is Making Human Penises Shrink and Causing a Collapse of Fertility, Scientists Say

Published

on

Like this article? Get the latest from The Mind Unleashed in your inbox. Sign up right here.

With many still scoffing at the idea of rampant pollution posing a threat to humanity, a new study could drastically change the conversation: the chemicals across our environment could be the cause of shrinking human penises.

According to a new book by Dr. Shanna H. Swan, conditions in the modern world are quickly altering the reproductive development of humans and posing a threat to our future as a species.

The argument is laid out in her new book Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race.

The book discusses how pollution is not only leading to skyrocketing erectile dysfunction rates and fertility decline, but also an expansion in the number of babies born with small penises.

While it may seem like good fodder for jokes, the research could portend a grim future for humanity’s ability to survive.

Swan co-authored a study in 2017 that found sperm counts had precipitously fallen in Western countries by 59 percent between 1973 and 2011. In her latest book, Swan blames chemicals for this crisis in the making.

“Chemicals in our environment and unhealthy lifestyle practices in our modern world are disrupting our hormonal balance, causing various degrees of reproductive havoc,” she wrote in the new book.

“In some parts of the world, the average twentysomething woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35,” she also wrote, noting that men could have only half the sperm count of their grandfathers.

Swan blames the disruption on phthalates, the chemicals used in plastic manufacturing that also have an impact on how the crucial hormone endocrine is produced

However, experts note that the proper implementation of pollution reduction measures could help humanity prevent the collapse of human fertility.

Typos, corrections and/or news tips? Email us at [email protected]

Continue Reading

Trending

The Mind Unleashed