Sunday, May 15, 2022

Can Weed Kill Brain Cells

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does smoking weed kill brain cells

Contrary to popular belief, we dont have a limited supply of brain cells. Sure, the majority of them grow early in life, but some areas of the brain continue to grow them into adulthood and beyond a process called neurogenesis. The hippocampus is one of these areas, and its also among the most important areas of the brain, playing roles in memory, emotion, and learning. But as we grow older, a number of factors compete with neurogenesis and kill brain cells. No, theyre not smoking weed and drinking alcohol instead, theyre a little more common than you might expect. Here are seven of them.

Studies With Young Adults

Almost five thousand young adults in a coronary artery risk development study were tracked over 25 years until mid-adulthood. The researchers found that lifelong appeared to have a cumulative effect and was associated with reduced scores on a verbal memory test.

THC appears to have no direct effect on cognitive abilities like processing speed. That was a significant finding that persisted even after adjusting for demographics, other substance use, and mental health issues.

Two longitudinal twin studies found that young twins who used marijuana showed a significant loss of verbal ability equivalent to four IQ points.

The twins also displayed overall deficits in general knowledge. Cognitive deficiencies were observed during the preteen years, late adolescent years, and in early adulthood.

A shorter-term twin study found no significant differences between twins when one twin used marijuana and the other twin did not.

Getting High Does Not Equal Killing Brain Cells

While frequent, heavy cannabis use can cause a dependency or even addiction in some people, as well as the possible aforementioned symptoms, there is some good news. Using marijuana, no matter the frequency, cannot actually kill brain cells in adult users, says Dr. Sodhi.

Getting high is not synonymous with killing brain cells. The high is an altered state produced by the THC, a mild hallucinogen, he explains. Neither THC or cannabis kills brain cells in the traditional sense, so theres really no need to quantify damage to the brain.

The higher the dosefor example, the more smoke a person inhales and holds in the lungs, or how many THC-laced cookies he or she swallowswill create a more intense high for sure, but as Dr. Sodhi points out, this does not cause increased neurotoxicity in the brain it just makes a person more high.

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Does Smoking Marijuana Kill Brain Cells

Marijuana usage has gone up over the past couple years due to things such as media coverage, and its legalization for recreational and medical use in our country. However, Ive heard before that smoking weed kills braincells and lowers your IQ. A study was done in New Zealand on 1000 people from the ages of 13-38. The study found that chronic users of the plant that used it before the age of 18 had their IQ points drop about 8 points before the user turned the age of 38.

While this does seem worrisome, it should be noted that there are several studies that make this study a little less easy to believe. For one, the people who were affected was only a small percent of the original 1000 . Secondly, during the study the individuals were smoking 4 times a week, more then the average smoker smokes. Finally, this study had been going on for 20 years which is above the average amount a time a person usually smokes marijuana. Although this experiment shows that your IQ may go down as a result of smoking marijuana, the likelihood of it happening to an average user remains uncertain. Click here to watch asapSCIENCE explain more effects of marijuana on your brain and the rest of your body.

Does Cannabis Have Age

Does Smoking Marijuana Kill Brain Cells?

Although it is unclear if cannabis has neurotoxic effects on adult brains, there is a largely held belief that pediatric cannabis consumption can lead to long-term neurological harm.

Claims that cannabis use is associated with lower cognitive functioning are largely based upon the findings of a single longitudinal study published by Meier et.al from Duke University. In 2012, they reported that the onset of cannabis use in early adolescence was associated with an average decline of eight IQ points by middle-age.

However, a 2016 critique of Meiers study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, stated that the reported differences in IQ were consistent with socioeconomic differences and likely were not attributable to marijuana use.

Duke team likely overestimate the impact of marijuana on IQ and they opined that the true effect could be zero.

Interestingly, in 2018, Meier and her colleagues themselves conceded short-term cannabis use in adolescence does not appear to cause IQ decline or impair executive functions, even when cannabis use reaches the level of dependence.

According to the report family background factors explain why adolescent cannabis users perform worse on IQ and executive function tests.

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How Do People Use Marijuana

People smoke marijuana in hand-rolled cigarettes or in pipes or water pipes . They also smoke it in bluntsemptied cigars that have been partly or completely refilled with marijuana. To avoid inhaling smoke, some people are using vaporizers. These devices pull the active ingredients from the marijuana and collect their vapor in a storage unit. A person then inhales the vapor, not the smoke. Some vaporizers use a liquid marijuana extract.

People can mix marijuana in food , such as brownies, cookies, or candy, or brew it as a tea. A newly popular method of use is smoking or eating different forms of THC-rich resins .

Effects Of Synthetic Marijuana On The Brain

Synthetic marijuana comes from a man-made hallucinogenic substance that is normally sprayed onto plant materials to replicate and enhance the effects of organic marijuana. Synthetic marijuana is not safe for human consumption but has become increasingly popular in recent years. The toxic components of synthetic marijuana, or fake weed, can cause increased heart rate, vomiting, bleeding, and produces powerful mind-altering effects.

Synthetic marijuana binds to the same cannabinoid receptors in the brain as THC but far more intensely, making it at least 100 times more potent. CB1 receptors have multiple locations in the brain in both the central and peripheral nervous systems which makes the side effects of synthetic marijuana potentially intense and harmful.

Synthetic marijuana abuse may cause:

  • Memory loss

  • Brain fog and trouble concentrating

  • Lower problem solving and critical thinking skills

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Thoughts On Does Smoking Marijuana Kill Brain Cells

  • cfl5109

    Interesting post! Like you, I have always heard that smoking marijuana can kill braincells, and it is very interesting to know that it can. I think this is some scary information considering how the substance is becoming legal more and more throughout the country, so over time it could have an impact on the knowledge of the users. According to the information i found on this website website smoking cigarettes can also kill braincells. So, we can already start to see how a mass population can be affected by smoking substances that can kill braincells. Thank you for the interesting post and Im sure we will see more of this come into play in the future!

  • Philip Littleton

    Very well written article I found it most interesting how marijuana can be addictive, because I always had thought of it as a non-addictive substance. According to your logic, if we are thinking towards the future, if marijuana becomes legalized and millions of people begin to start the habit of smoking regularly, it could be possible that IQ scores will drop tremendously. That is if it is used frequently

  • Connor James Scavina

    I found it interesting that marijuana can actually effect you IQ score. Also how marijuana could cause anxiety, depression, and trouble breathing for people who abuse the drug. I would also have to agree that marijuana can be come addicting not in a physical sense, but in a mental sense.

  • How Marijuana Interferes With Brain Function

    Does Cannabis Kill Brain Cells? – Weedwise

    Experts do not currently believe that marijuana use harms or destroys brain cells. However, its effects on the brain can be diverse and include the inhibition of short-term memories, time perception distortion, and appetite regulation. THC, the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana, is the catalyst for interference with cannabinoid receptors in the brain.

    After a user smokes or otherwise ingests marijuana, its chemicals make their way into the bloodstream, which then carries it throughout the body. Cannabis contains molecules similar to those produced in the brain. Once THC crosses the blood-brain barrier, it attaches to these receptors, which are then directly influenced by the chemical.

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    Medical Marijuana Vs Recreational Use

    The main difference between recreational pot smokers and users of medical marijuana is that the recreational user is usually just after the high for pleasure or escape, while medical users tend to have a specific reason for using it.

    As of July 2019, medical marijuana is legal in 33 states and DC, and recreational marijuana is legal in 11 states and DC, with many more looking to join each or both groups. While this may be great news for many, for some it is making a difficult problem easier to embrace.

    • Seizure disorders

    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 .

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    Cocaine And Other Narcotics

    While marijuana wont kill brain cells, other narcotics on the Drug Enforcement Administrations drug schedule list certainly will. Drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, bath salts , and MDMA all activate the brains reward systems, triggering the release of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.

    While triggering all these neurotransmitters can cause a euphoric high and make the user especially active, they also damage the neurons responsible for releasing the feel-good chemicals. As a result, the user can develop a tolerance to the drug, which forces them to take more over time to achieve the same high further damaging the cells or even killing them. In a 2003 study on cocaine, researchers looked at brain samples from 35 deceased cocaine users and compared them to the brains of 35 nonusers. They found dopamine levels were far lower in those who had used cocaine, especially in those who were depressed as well, suggesting that there were fewer dopamine-producing neurons.

    Researchers believe that this damage to brain cells is what leads to drug addiction, as the user finds it progressively harder to feel good on his own.

    What Is The Evidence With Regards To The Neurotoxic Effects On Brain Development

    Can Marijuana Use Kill Brain Cells?

    In 2017, researchers from the University of Colorado and Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR studied the brains of tobacco and cannabis users using MRI. They reported, neuroimaging studies provide strong evidence of deleterious effects of chronic alcohol use on brain structure in adults and adolescents, no significant associations were observed between cannabis use and structural measures across any sample, even when limited to participants reporting weekly or greater use and removing the influence of the alcohol predictor.

    A 2019 European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciencereview examined the most relevant existing literature on the age-related differences between the impact of cannabis on brain and cognition. The researchers were not able to determine that there is a causal effect between age of consumption and brain damage, but they did offer these three interesting hypotheses:

    • Persistent cannabis using adolescents demonstrated worse executive function skills than adults age-effects are most apparent in heavy and dependent cannabis consumers.
    • Adolescents are less likely to experience reduced cannabis cravings after intoxication than adults.
    • Adolescents who abstain from cannabis for long periods of time are more likely to reduce the impact of neurotoxicity than adults.

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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.

    Break free from addiction.

    How Marijuana May Damage Teenage Brains In Study Using Genetically Vulnerable Mice

    Mouse study may explain why pot harms some adolescent brain

    Left -Control: Neurons in the brain’s hippocampus. Inhibitory signals that suppress the neurons from firing are located in the synapses–the junctions where the neurons connect and communicate with each other.Right – Disc1: Neurons in the brain’s hippocampus that produces a mutant Disc1 protein. When treated with THC, there are much fewer inhibitory signals in the synapsesthe junctions where neurons communicate with one another.Credit: Pletnikov lab

    In a report that will be published in a 2019 print issue of the journal Biological Psychiatry, the researchers say they showed that pot exposure increases inflammation in a specific type of brain cell in adolescent mice that carries a rare genetic mutation linked to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other major psychiatric disorders. In a proof-of-concept experiment, the investigators then used a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, NS398, to suppress the pot-induced inflammation in the brain. The researchers report they were able to prevent marijuanas brain damage in mice that appear genetically susceptible to the harmful effects.

    Then the researchers stopped the THC exposure for three weeks before testing the mice for behavioral and cognitive deficits.

    In people, women appear to have more persistent cognitive effects from smoking marijuana in their teens than do men, and this is a difference we cant explain at this time, says Pletnikov.

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    So How Does Marijuana Affect Your Brain

    More research is needed to accurately answer this question. There is evidence that cannabis depresses functionality in the developing brains of children and adolescents. Nevertheless, more studies are needed to clarify whether brain impairment also occurs in those who avoid THC before adulthood.

    More research is also needed to assess the effects of more potent marijuana strains and new cannabis products such as edibles.

    Does marijuana really kill brain cells? It might, and it might not. Either way, youre putting your brain at risk. If youre worried about using too much weed, we can help.Contact Harmony Place in Woodland Hills, California, for more information.

    Recovery Is Tough But So Are You And Were Here To Help

    Does Weed Kill Brain Cells?

    When it comes to getting treatment for addiction of any kind it can be intimidating, and there can be some hesitancy. For marijuana specifically, approximately half of the people who enter treatment for a marijuana use disorder are under 25 years old.

    Aside from being young, most of these individuals also report other problems and even some risky behaviors. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, commonly known as the DSM, 4.3 percent of Americans have been dependent on marijuana.

    Also, 9% of those who try marijuana develop dependence. Compared to the 15% of cocaine users who develop addictions and 24% of those who use heroin, this may not seem like a lot. However, remember how many more people regularly use cannabis. This makes cannabis dependence more common than other types. Yet, we know most people never seek treatment for it. Were here to help.

    Get Help With Vertava Health And Live Your Best Life

    If you or someone you love is struggling with cannabis addiction, Vertava Health is here to help. We offer comprehensive and compassionate treatment for all types of addictions and can help guide you through the difficult portions, like withdrawal and detox.

    Theres one specific thing we use to help you, something unique: we use your strength. Your own dedication and strength are key ingredients in your own recovery. It might not feel like it, but were confident you have the power to change your life. Call us at , and we can chat about how.

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    How To Consume Cannabis The Smart Way

    Moderation is the best way to ensure that you can safely enjoy marijuana and possibly even derive some brain-protecting effects. Rather than consuming cannabis daily, consider reducing your consumption and setting aside your favorite strain as a treat rather than a habit.

    Choosing low-THC strains that have fewer psychoactive properties may also be a smarter way to enjoy cannabis. Some popular low-THC strains include Ringo’s Gift, Harlequin, Cannatonic, Pennywise, ACDC, and Sour Tsunami.

    Finally, experimenting with smoke-free cannabis consumption methods may be better for your brain and will certainly be better for your lungs.

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