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Can Edibles Cause Permanent Brain Damage

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The Harmful Effects Of Marijuana

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The immediate effects of taking marijuana include rapid heart beat, disorientation, lack of physical coordination, often followed by depression or sleepiness. Some users suffer panic attacks or anxiety.22

But the problem does not end there. According to scientific studies, the active ingredient in cannabis, THC, remains in the body for weeks or even months.23

Marijuana smoke contains 50% to 70% more cancer-causing substances than tobacco smoke.24 One major research study reported that a single cannabis joint could cause as much damage to the lungs as up to five regular cigarettes smoked one after another.4 Long-time joint smokers often suffer from bronchitis, an inflammation of the respiratory tract.25

The drug can affect more than your physical health. Studies in Australia in 2008 linked years of heavy marijuana use to brain abnormalities.26 This is backed up by earlier research on the long-term effects of marijuana, which indicate changes in the brain similar to those caused by long-term abuse of other major drugs. And a number of studies have shown a connection between continued marijuana use and psychosis.27

Thus even small amounts of marijuana can cause temporary sterility in men.28 Marijuana use can also disrupt a womans menstrual cycle.29

Studies show that the mental functions of people who have smoked a lot of marijuana tend to be diminished. The THC in cannabis disrupts nerve cells in the brain, affecting memory.30

The Effects And Dangers Of Thc

Cannabis, more commonly referred to as marijuana, is actually the umbrella term that refers to the plant that creates compounds called cannabinoids.

Whether you call it cannabis or marijuana, use is on the rise. Some people use it recreationally, while others use it for medicinal purposes to treat pain, nausea and sleep disorders. It can be smoked, inhaled, brewed as tea or consumed in edibles.

Its also associated with many long-term, harmful effects. Two Northwestern Medicine experts share what you need to know about the impact of cannabis use.

Research shows long-term cannabis use affects brain development.

Reproductive And Endocrine Effects

A study released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine cited significant evidence for a statistical link between mothers who smoke cannabis during pregnancy and lower birth weights of their babies. Cannabis consumption in pregnancy is associated with restrictions in growth of the fetus, miscarriage, and cognitive deficits in offspring. Although the majority of research has concentrated on the adverse effects of alcohol, there is now evidence that prenatal exposure to cannabis has serious effects on the developing brain and is associated with “deficits in language, attention, areas of cognitive performance, and delinquent behavior in adolescence”. A report prepared for the Australian National Council on Drugs concluded cannabis and other cannabinoids are contraindicated in pregnancy as it may interact with the endocannabinoid system.

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What Treatments Are Available For Marijuana Use Disorder

No medications are currently available to treat marijuana use disorder, but behavioral support has been shown to be effective. Examples include therapy and motivational incentives . Continuing research may lead to new medications that help ease withdrawal symptoms, block the effects of marijuana, and prevent relapse.

Types Of Cannabis Concentrates

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Concentrates and extracts dont look like bud, get packaged like bud, or smell quite like bud, making them somewhat easier to conceal. Here, a not-at-all-comprehensive inventory of products that could be hiding in your teenagers nightstand.

ShatterAn amber-colored extract that has a transparent, stiff, glasslike quality and breaks easilyTypically used with: a dab rig

SugarAn extract that comes in a wide range of colorsvery light yellow to almost amberand has the consistency of wet, sappy sugarTypically used with: a dab rig

BudderA dark yellow extract that has a creamy, butterlike textureTypically used with: a dab rig

Live RosinA high-quality solventless extract, usually pale yellow to golden in color with a gooey, honeylike consistencyTypically used with: a dab rig, a glass bowl, a joint, or a concentrates vape pen

CrumbleAn extract that can be yellow, orange, or light brown and that has a soft, crumbly textureTypically used with: a dab rig or sprinkled over flower in joints, pipes, and bongs

WaxAn extract that has a soft, waxy consistencyTypically used with: a dab rig or a concentrates vape pen

DistillateA potent cannabis oil extract that has been stripped of all materials and compounds except for certain cannabinoids, like THC or CBDTypically used with: a concentrates vape pen

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Heavy Marijuana Use Doesn’t Damage Brain

Analysis of Studies Finds Little Effect From Long-Term Use

July 1, 2003 — Long-term and even daily use doesn’t appear to cause permanent brain damage, adding to evidence that it can be a safe and effective treatment for a wide range of diseases, say researchers.

The researchers found only a “very small” impairment in memory and learning among long-term marijuana users. Otherwise, scores on thinking tests were similar to those who don’t smoke marijuana, according to a new analysis of 15 previous studies.

In those studies, some 700 regular marijuana users were compared with 484 non-users on various aspects of brain function — including reaction time, language and motor skills, reasoning ability, memory, and the ability to learn new information.

Types Of Marijuana Edibles

There has been some concern that the legalization of recreational marijuana may translate to increased use of marijuana in new forms. Marijuana edibles are not new, but a variety of edibles have become available in recent years. Some common types of edibles include:

  • Marijuana brownies and marijuana cookies are among the most common baked goods, but nearly any baked item can have marijuana.
  • Chocolates, truffles and hard candies, including lollipops, can have marijuana in them.
  • Marijuana gummies are popular, as are gummies with CBD.
  • Infused beverages: Cannabis-infused drinks have become popular in recent years. Soda, coffee drinks, juice, sports drinks and flavored or unflavored water can all have marijuana infused into them.
  • Other types of edibles: Ice cream, breath mints and even beef jerky can contain marijuana.

Notably, some marijuana edibles have several servings in them. For example, one bar of marijuana chocolate may have multiple 10 mg servings. If someone has a low marijuana tolerance and eats an entire bar of chocolate, they may experience unpleasant side effects, like:

  • Dizziness

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How Does Marijuana Affect The Brain

As recreational Marijuana use becomes legalized throughout the US, many people now wonder how affects the brain and whether or not it kills brain cells. Just as years of heavy alcohol, Meth, and Heroin use can cause some irreversible brain damage, prolonged Marijuana abuse can affect the ability of brain cells to convey messages . Using Marijuana can cause damage to brain cells that results in a number of concurrent symptoms throughout the body.

Like other drugs, components of Marijuana bind with specific receptors in the brain. Tetrahydrocannabinol is Marijuanas primary Psychoactive ingredient, and it attaches to the brains Cannabinoid receptors . These receptors connect to nerves in the brain which govern memory, appetite, pain regulation, and mood.

When a person smokes Marijuana, they may notice they struggle with staying focused or recalling important details. This can worsen with prolonged Marijuana use, resulting in problems like poor memory and concentration. Motor skills can also be affected by the drug. If users decide to drive while high, they can endanger their lives and the lives of others.

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Brain Functional Abnormalities In Cannabis Users

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Jager et al. using fMRI and volumetric analysis, studied associative memory and its medial temporal lobe pathways. While cannabis users showed lower activity in both the parahippocampal gyrus and right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, they showed normal performance and had no changes in brain structure.

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Chronic Psychosis And Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders

The temporal relationship between cannabis and psychosis was reviewed in 2014, and the authors proposed that “ecause longitudinal work indicates that cannabis use precedes psychotic symptoms, it seems reasonable to assume a causal relationship” between cannabis and psychosis, but that “more work is needed to address the possibility of gene-environment correlation.”

In 2016 a meta-analysis was published on associations studies covering a range of dosing habits, again showing that cannabis use is associated with a significantly increased risk of psychosis, and alleged that a doseâresponse relationship exists between the level of cannabis use and risk of psychosis. The risk was increased 4-fold with daily use, though the analysis was not adequate to establish a causal link. Another 2016 meta-analysis found that cannabis use only predicted transition to psychosis among those who met the criteria for abuse of or dependence on the drug.

A 2019 meta-analysis found that 34% of people with cannabis-induced psychosis transitioned to schizophrenia. This was found to be comparatively higher than hallucinogens and amphetamines .

A 2014 review examined psychological therapy as add-on for people with schizophrenia who are using cannabis:

Lowering Your Risks When Consuming Cannabis

There are risks associated with cannabis use. The best way to protect your health is to avoid using cannabis or cannabis products completely.

Cannabis can be consumed in different ways. Two common ways are:

  • inhalation

Each way carries different health and safety risks.

Everyone’s response to cannabis is different, depending on:

  • sex
  • experience with cannabis, frequency of use
  • consumption of food, alcohol, other drugs or health products

Everyone’s response to cannabis can also differ from one time to the next.

Research suggests that there are ways to reduce the risks:

  • Use it in a safe and familiar environment and with people you trust, especially if you are inexperienced or a new user.
  • Delay cannabis use until the brain is fully developed. This occurs around the age of 25.
  • The earlier you begin using cannabis, the higher your risk of serious health issues, including dependence and other mental health problems.
  • Choose a product with equal or higher amounts of CBD than THC.
  • The higher the THC content of a product, the more likely you are to experience adverse effects and greater levels of impairment. CBD is known to reduce some of the effects of THC.
  • If you smoke cannabis, avoid inhaling deeply or holding your breath.
  • Limit and reduce how often you use.
  • Frequent use of cannabis over a long time can contribute to mental health problems. These include dependence, anxiety and depression.
  • Avoid mixing cannabis and other substances, like alcohol or drugs.
  • psychosis
  • schizophrenia
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    Is Marijuana A Gateway Drug

    Use of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana are likely to come before use of other drugs.21,22Animal studies have shown that early exposure to addictive substances, including THC, may change how the brain responds to other drugs. For example, when rodents are repeatedly exposed to THC when they’re young, they later show an enhanced response to other addictive substancessuch as morphine or nicotinein the areas of the brain that control reward, and they’re more likely to show addiction-like behaviors.23,24

    Although these findings support the idea of marijuana as a “gateway drug,” the majority of people who use marijuana don’t go on to use other “harder” drugs. It’s also important to note that other factors besides biological mechanisms, such as a persons social environment, are also critical in a persons risk for drug use and addiction. Read more about marijuana as a gateway drug in our .

    The Effects Of Cannabis On Young People’s Health

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    Cannabis affects the same biological system in the brain that is responsible for brain development.Footnote 11

    Youth and young adults are more likely to experience harms from cannabis because their brains develop until about age 25. The earlier you start consuming cannabis, the more harm it can do.Footnote 11

    Starting as a teen, consuming frequently and over a long time increases the risk of mental health problems. These problems include dependence and disorders related to anxiety and depression.Footnote 11

    Frequent use of cannabis over a long time can also harm important aspects of your thinking, like learning and memory. Stopping use can help improve these deficits. However, some of these harms may persist for months or years, or may not be fully reversible.Footnote 12Footnote 13Footnote 14

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    Enhanced Negative Side Effects

    Extensive data is available documenting the increased side effects edible marijuana has compared to smoked marijuana. The reason for this discrepancy stems from how THC is metabolized. When marijuana is eaten, more THC makes it to the liver. The liver breaks it down into several byproducts, including 11-hydroxy-THC, which may be more psychoactive than THC itself.

    How Can I Help Someone Misusing Marijuana

    When a friend or family member experiences drug addiction, its not always easy to help. People who use marijuana rarely consider the habit problematic or uncontrolled. Remember these pointers when talking to them about their drug use:

    • Shaming someone to quit drug use rarely works. The feeling of shame often causes drug use.
    • Never confront a person who is high or drunk. Wait until they are sober, and then tell them how you feel when they are using.
    • Dont lend the person money for drugs. That just continues the cycle.
    • Encourage your loved one to get help.
    • Get support for yourself. A counselor can help you find effective strategies to help your friend.

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    When Its Time To Intervene

    Durangos Open Sky Wilderness Therapy treats young people who face mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and addiction. Teens receive clinical treatment while living in nature, sometimes for months at a time. 5280 connected with Open Sky clinical therapist Brian Leidal to ask him about the impacts of cannabis he sees in his cohorts.Back to Top

    5280: Do you often have clients experiencing addiction to marijuana?Brian Leidal: Yes. Clients I work with fall on a spectrum, ranging from mild to severe use. In order to determine if a clients use has become an addiction, I ask them about the frequency of their cannabis use, the types and concentrations of the cannabis they use, and the consequences of their use. The difference between dependence and addiction is consequences: For those clients who have become addicted, the consequences really pile up.

    Withdrawal isnt the only thing we need to worry about with frequent THC use, right?Moderate to severe cannabis use is associated with reductions in two measures of intelligence and cognitive ability: working memory and processing speed. More research is needed to definitively state whether these reductions are permanent or temporary in adolescents or young adults. For adolescents who use cannabis, however, there are studies that show that these reductions are permanent and dont recover in adulthood, even if they stop using.

    States Ok Marijuana Use

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    Grant’s analysis, published in the July issue of the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, comes as many states consider laws allowing marijuana to be used to treat certain medical conditions. Earlier this year, Maryland became the 10th state to allow marijuana use to relieve pain and other symptoms of AIDS, multiple sclerosis, cancer, glaucoma, and other conditions — joining Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

    Medicinal marijuana is available by prescription in the Netherlands and a new marijuana drug is expected to be released in Great Britain later this year. In the U.S. and elsewhere, , a drug that is a synthetic form of marijuana and contains its active ingredient, THC, is available by prescription to treat loss of appetite associated with weight loss in AIDS patients.

    Grant says he did the analysis to help determine long-term toxicity from long-term and frequent marijuana use. His center is currently conducting 11 studies to determine its safety and efficacy in treating several diseases.

    “This finding enables us to see a marginal level of safety, if those studies prove that cannabis can be effective,” Grant tells WebMD. “If we barely find this effect in long-term heavy users, then we are unlikely to see deleterious side effects in individuals who receive cannabis for a short time in a medical setting, which would be safer than what is practiced by street users.”

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    The Dangers Of Marijuana Edibles

    Edibles are food products typically made with highly-concentrated cannabis or infused with marijuana. Edibles come in a variety of forms including baked goods, chocolates, gummies, candies or even beverages. They can be made at home or prepared by a commercial kitchen or dispensary for distribution. When edibles are made, tetrahydrocannabinol is extracted and infused into oil or butter for cooking.

    Although smoking is the most popular method of using marijuana, consuming edibles is quickly increasing in popularity. Unfortunately, many people are not aware of the significant dangers and health risks that are present in marijuana edibles.

    Does Marijuana Kill Brain Cells

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    Can Edibles Cause Permanent Brain Damage

    Asked by: Prof. Paige Schuppe

    Long-term cannabis use can also impact mental health. Though research is still developing, studies suggest it is associated with an increased risk of developing psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. It can trigger or worsen the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia, like hallucinations, paranoia and psychosis.

    Avoid Overdoing It On A Regular Basis

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    Some people love the effects of cannabis and enjoy large doses.

    Nothing wrong with that.

    However, if youre overdosing on cannabis regularly not only will it jack up your tolerance, but it may also take a toll on aspects of your life including motivation and productivity.

    Yes, it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

    Experienced consumers are often surprised by the increased benefits they notice when consuming LESS cannabis.

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