Imaging studies of marijuana's impact on brain structure in humans have shown with lower scores on a test of verbal memory but did not affect other cognitive abilities The study will use neuroimaging and other advanced tools to clarify. A study found differences in the brains of users and nonusers, but it did not establish that marijuana use caused the variations or that they had. There are a number of shocking ways weed can affect you and your brain, and these changes might not be side effects you have heard before.
Harm Brain? THC Will Your
When you take marijuana in any form, cannabinoid receptors in your brain cells respond to its active ingredient, THC deltatetrahydrocannabinol , creating sensations of pleasure and relaxation. Because most of these receptors are located in the areas of the brain that affect memory, cognition, perception and motor coordination, all of these mental functions can be affected by marijuana use — not only right after you use the drug, but for up to seven days afterwards, according to the Archives of General Psychiatry.
Clinical research has not yet confirmed that marijuana use can have permanent effects on brain function. So far, the effects of the drug have been linked primarily to long-term use and appear to be reversible. If you stop abusing marijuana, its effects on your memory, learning and coordination may disappear.
A study published in a issue of Psychopharmacology tested a group of adolescents between the ages of 16 and 20 on their learning and memory skills. Out of this group, cannabis users scored lower on cognitive tests than alcohol users or non-drug users.
This is why smokers experience memory issues, augmented levels of pain, and alterations to emotion, pleasure, and movement control. The memory issues come from the way marijuana hits the hippocampus, the region of the brain that regulates short-term memory. The effect of cannabis temporarily prevents the brain from developing new memories and learning new things, which is a form of short-term memory. Researchers who published their findings in the Molecular Psychiatry journal discovered that heavy cannabis users are at risk for developing false memories, even if those users had gone without smoking pot for over a month.
Such a finding is one of a number that suggests people who were regular marijuana smokers in their teenage years are more likely to have memory problems as adults. As past years of marijuana use went up, verbal memory scores went down; expressed numerically, 50 percent of pot smokers tended to remember one fewer word from a list of 15 words. Nonetheless, he warned that cannabis is still a drug, and all drugs have some level of harm to them. Aside from memory, other research has looked at the long-term effects of marijuana on dopamine.
Production of the neurotransmitter that regulates the pleasure and reward centers of the brain can be compromised if the marijuana use is heavy, according to an article in Molecular Psychiatry found.
People who smoked a lot of marijuana tested positive for lower dopamine release in the region of the brain that also controls attention and impulsive behavior. Participants in this study tended to start smoking pot around the age of 16 and became dependent on the substance by In the month before the study was conducted, nearly all users reported smoking marijuana on a daily basis.
A former president of the American Psychiatric Association commented on the study , saying that there is a growing body of evidence that shows that youth use of cannabis develops into problems in adulthood.
Many of those problems manifest physically, not just psychologically. Healthline explains that since marijuana smoke consists of a number of toxic chemicals such as ammonia and hydrogen cyanide , long-term exposure to smoking can damage the bronchial passages and the lungs.
Regular pot smokers are more likely to have persistent coughs, have some trouble breathing, and produce excess phlegm and mucus from their throats. The study will use neuroimaging and other advanced tools to clarify precisely how and to what extent marijuana and other substances, alone and in combination, affect adolescent brain development. Distribution of cannabinoid receptors in the rat brain. Brain image reveals high levels shown in orange and yellow of cannabinoid receptors in many areas, including the cortex, hippocampus, cerebellum, and nucleus accumbens ventral striatum.
Memory impairment from marijuana use occurs because THC alters how the hippocampus, a brain area responsible for memory formation, processes information. Most of the evidence supporting this assertion comes from animal studies. Moreover, cognitive impairment in adult rats is associated with structural and functional changes in the hippocampus from THC exposure during adolescence. As people age, they lose neurons in the hippocampus, which decreases their ability to learn new information.
Chronic THC exposure may hasten age-related loss of hippocampal neurons. In one study, rats exposed to THC every day for 8 months approximately 30 percent of their lifespan showed a level of nerve cell loss at 11 to 12 months of age that equaled that of unexposed animals twice their age.
National Institute on Drug Abuse website. This series of reports simplifies the science of research findings for the educated lay public, legislators, educational groups, and practitioners. The series reports on research findings of national interest.
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Dangers of Marijuana: Long-Term Effects on the Brain and Body
Governments and communities worldwide are softening their views on cannabis use. Trials of medicinal cannabis have been approved in Victoria, Queensland. What Marijuana Does to Our Brains in the First Couple of Hours Like alcohol, caffeine, and sugar, cannabinoids also affect the levels of. What researchers do not fully understand is what effect that marijuana can have on the brain when someone uses the drug regularly over a.