The latest study that shows that nicotine and TCH can help improve learning needs to be further studied and understood. This could have major implications for our understanding of how these two drugs work, and could be an alternative to tradition methods for improving learning and concentration. This is only the tip of the iceberg.
This article says there is lower hippocampal volume in marijuana users. BUT there was another study that showed hippocampal neurogenesis (new neurons) in the brains of marijuana users.
Which one is right?
And in general you will find lots of things that are studied where scientists come up with conflicting findings. Yet the media will hype it up anyways, because that way they get more readers.
It's not that science is wrong, but science is a method and can never reach 100% certainty although it can get close.
And I find it odd that with people who use both marijuana and tobacco that there is increased memory function with a smaller hippocampus as it says in the article. The main theory in neuroscience is that the hippocampus is the seat of memory. So for there to be a smaller hippocampus and enhanced memory makes no sense unless there's something wrong with the theory that the hippocampus is the seat of memory.
There's also the question of which came first or whether correlation in this case indicates causation at all. It might be that people who already have certain brain structures are more likely to use marijuana, tobacco, or both, and that some unidentified preexisting aspect of brain function is responsible for the differences in memory which correlate with a larger or smaller hippocampus. Or maybe there's some third factor (genetics, social experiences, chemical exposures, diet,...Anything) that encourages marijuana and tobacco use and also causes changes in the structure of the brain.
Different studies offer very different conclusions on the impact of drugs, including nicotine and THC. More research should definitely done to develop more conclusive answers to both the risks and potential benefits of these drugs. THC, in particular, warrants significant research, due to the spreading prevalence of its use and the trend of legalization in multiple US states.
Advocates of legalization point out cannabis' medicinal properties, its ability to open up the mind, and plentiful evidence that it is less harmful than alcohol . Critics of legalization meanwhile cite studies showing cannabis' harmful physical and psychotic effects and its tendency to act as a gateway to harder and more dangerous drugs.
If there is initial feedback that shows an uptick in learning capabilities, then I think it would be prudent to perform further scientific studies to determine how and when these drugs can be used as a benefit to those in a learning environment. If the substances can be controlled through medicinal uses, the possibilities are potentially endless.