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Howard G. Smith, M.D. is a former radio medical editor and talk show host in the Boston Metro area.  His "Medical Minute" of health and wellness news and commentary was a regular weekday feature on WBZ-AM, WRKO-AM, and WMRE-AM.   His popular two-way talk show, Dr. Howard Smith OnCall, was regularly heard Sunday morning and middays on WBZ.

Trained at Harvard Medical School and a long-time faculty member at Boston Children’s Hospital, he practiced Pediatric Otolaryngology for 40 years in Boston, Southern California, and in central Connecticut.

If you have questions or suggestions about this content, please email the doctor at or leave him a message at 516-778-8864.  His website is:

Please note that the news, views, commentary, and opinions that Dr. Smith provides are for informational purposes only.  Any changes that you or members of your family contemplate making to lifestyle, diet, medications, or medical therapy should always be discussed beforehand with personal physicians who have been supervising your care.

Aug 9, 2019



One or two hits of cannabis in any form does permanently affect the brain structure of young people.  New studies by University of Vermont psychiatrists looked at brain imaging for 46 teens experiencing cannabis for the first time and compared their brains with those of with non-users.


The data reveals greater gray matter volumes in cannabis-binding zones of the brains in teens who used marijuana only once or twice by age 14.  The differences occur in the emotion-processing amygdala and in the memory processing hippocampus.


The researchers point out the teens’ brains naturally thin during adolescence in a type of pruning or refinement process.  Even a joint or two of marijuana may prevent this vital process from occurring.


The increasing legalization of marijuana means more of us and our kids will have access to it.  Studies like this should make us pause and ask if that’s a good thing.


Catherine Orr, Philip Spechler, Hugh Garavan, etal. Grey Matter Volume Differences Associated with Extremely Low Levels of Cannabis Use in Adolescence. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2019; 3375-17 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3375-17.2018


#cannabis #marijuana #brainchange, teendruguse #emotion #memory #healthnews #healthtips