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Does Marijuana Cause Brain Damage

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What Is Synthetic Marijuana

Can Marijuana Cause Adults Permanent Brain Damage?

According to NIDA, synthetic marijuana is made to look and feel like natural marijuana. It can be sold as a liquid for vaping or sprayed on shredded plants to be smoked. Common synthetic marijuana brands include âK2â and âSpice.â

Although some synthetic marijuana chemicals were made illegal in 2012, manufacturers work around the rules by changing formulas or by labeling packages as âunsafe for human consumption,â according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

âThankfully K2 and Spice have been removed from the legal market, although some companies keep finding ways to get around this. But even when it was sold legally no one really knew what they were actually consuming. Pesticides, household cleaning products, fentanyl – who knows?â April Hatch, MSN, RN, of the Cannabis Care Team, tells WebMD Connect to Care.

Effects Of Marijuana On Adult Brains

Interestingly, the researchers originally set out to test a hypothesis that marijuana use effects cortical oscillations in adults. But when they repeated the experiment on adult mice who had never been exposed to the drug previously, they found that both the oscillations and cognitive behavior stayed normal.

So, it appears that adolescence is the period of development when marijuana use can take its biggest toll. Senior author Dr. Asaf Keller adds:

We looked at the different regions of the brain. The back of the brain develops first, and the frontal parts of the brain develop during adolescence.

We found that the frontal cortex is much more affected by the drugs during adolescence. This is the area of the brain that controls executive functions, such as planning and impulse control. It is also the area most affected in schizophrenia.

Weed Brain Damage And Treatment Options

Medical professionals believe marijuana disorder is very similar to most other substance use disorders, although there are usually less severe clinical outcomes attached.

Of thoseadults seeking treatment for marijuana use disorder, most have used cannabis for more than ten years, and most have attempted to quit on more than six separate occasions.

Data shows that marijuana use disorder often co-occurs with mental health disorders, resulting in a dual diagnosis.

Also, those who use marijuana may also use other substances, from alcohol and prescription medications to other illicit drugs.

Whether you need treatment for marijuana use disorder in isolation, or you needdual diagnosis treatment for a co-occurring disorder, the following modalities are proven effective:

There are not currently any medications approved by the FDA for the treatment of cannabis use disorder.

One of the most common withdrawal symptoms experienced by those attempting to stop using marijuana is insomnia and disrupted sleep patterns. For this reason, there is ongoing research into the possible effectiveness of sleep aids like Ambien for alleviating the symptoms of marijuana withdrawal.

The anti-anxiety medication buspirone and gabapentin an anti-epileptic medication are also the subject of ongoing clinical trials.

What can you do, then, if youre not only concerned about pot brain damage, but you also feel you need help regulating your marijuana consumption?

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How Bad Is Chronic Marijuana Use

Most experts agree that more research needs to be done to accurately answer this question. First, there is no universal definition of what constitutes “chronic” use.

A Canadian study in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry in 2017 showed a substantial increase in psychotic-like experiences in teenage users. The study also reported adverse effects on cognitive development and increased symptoms of depression.

Other studies show that chronic use may even interfere with normal development of the adolescent brain.

How Marijuana Works On The Brain


THC attaches to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and in peripheral tissues. When these receptors are activated, they can alter your mood, change cognition, and increase your appetite. The effects of marijuana are dose-dependent, which means you may experience symptoms at high doses that you wouldnt feel at lower doses and vice versa. For instance, larger doses of marijuana can impair your memory and cognitive functions while lower doses may only cause mild effects.

Marijuana is often taken to achieve a high, but some users claim that it promotes creativity. However, that may not be true. A study published in 2014 looked at the relationship between cannabis use and creative thinking. Participants performed a series of tasks that required divergent thinking and gave them a low dose of cannabis, a high dose, or a placebo.

People who used low doses didnt have any notable increase in creativity as compared to the placebo group. People who used a high dose actually experienced impaired creativity. If youre an artist, marijuana may not be the creativity enhancer you might want it to be.

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Health Series: Does Marijuana Cause Brain Damage Can You Overdose On It

    Q. Does marijuana cause brain damage?

    A. More studies are needed to answer this complex question. But while a growing body of research indicates even heavy marijuana use seems to have few long-term health effects for adults, it may negatively affect developing teen brains.

    People who started using cannabis as teenagers lost about eight IQ points by the time they were 38, according to a 2012 study by Madeline Meier, a psychologist at Arizona State University.

    Overwhelmingly, studies by Staci Gruber, a psychiatry professor at Harvard Medical School and director of the Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery team at Bostons McLean Hospital, show that chronic marijuana smokers who start using before age 16 perform more poorly on cognitive tests. They show reduced impulse control and issues with staying focused on a task, she said.

    Even the brain structure itself can be altered in young smokers, she said, decreasing the amount of white matter, which affects how we learn.

    Its not as if these people appear to have brain injuries, she said. In all actuality, these people are able to function the same as people who dont smoke.

    I think its fair to say, as far as heavy adolescent use, we have an open question here, said Dr. Igor Grant, a psychiatrist who oversees the Center for Medical Cannabis Research at UC San Diego.

    However, all eight states that have legalized recreational use set 21 as the age limit.

    How Teen Marijuana Use Impacts Brain Development

    Editors note: Pravesh Sharma, M.D., received the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Pilot Research Award for junior faculty, and child and adolescent psychiatry fellows supported by AACAP to study the effect of pre-adolescent risk factors on the relationship between adolescent cannabis use and psychosis in adolescents and young adults.

    Marijuana is the most common illicit drug among adolescents and young adults. Surveys show fewer of this population now believe marijuana can cause harm. This decline in the perceived risk could lead to increased future use of marijuana. It is important to know that research also shows marijuana use adversely impacts brain development in adolescents and young adults. Marijuana contains more than 500 chemicals, of which delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is considered to be the main psychoactive compound. The concentration of THC in a marijuana product is directly proportional to its potency or how much of a high that product will give when consumed.

    Key findings in a national survey on drug use reported daily use of marijuana as early as eighth grade and among 5.9 percent of high school seniors. In addition, 80 percent of seniors said that marijuana would be easy to get. These numbers are cause for concern.



    Pravesh Sharma, M.D., is a psychiatrist in Behavioral Health in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

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    Overcome Marijuana Dependence At Allure Detox

    So damage to the brain from marijuana depends on how young someone starts using and how long. But no matter how long you or a loved one have been using marijuana, Allure Detox can help at any stage of life.

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    All About Marijuana And Brain Health: The Good And The Bad

    Does Marijuana Cause Permanent Brain Damage in Adults

    Lets start by covering the basics. Most of us know by now that marijuana is a plant that occurs naturally. It is actually a plant known as cannabis. As is the case with most plants, cannabis can come in a couple of different types. The two main types of cannabis are Cannabis sativa and Cannabis sativa L.

    Cannabis sativa L is the non-psychotropic, or non-mind altering, type. It is most commonly used in the materials industry. It can be used to produce oils, materials for clothes, rope, and much more. Its commonly referred to as hemp. More now than ever before, it can also be found within a variety of beauty products like lotions and shampoos. Some crafting kits even boast the inclusion of hemp string for friendship bracelets.

    Part of this major uptick in the use of hemp is due to its small environmental impact compared to most synthetic materials. This actually is part of what draws people to using marijuana as well for things like anxiety or pain instead of pharmaceutical options.

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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.

    Chronic Cannabis Use And Brain Damage

    7.5.1 Behavioural neurotoxicity in animals

    7.5.2 Neurochemistry

    7.5.3 Electrophysiological effects

    7.5.4 Cerebral blood flow studies

    7.5.5 Positron emission tomography studies

    7.5.6 Brain morphology Animal studies studies

    7.5.7 Discussion

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    Cannabis Products Are Everywhere These Days

    Cannabis products are everywhere these days. As a growing number of states loosen their medical and recreational cannabis laws, millions of Americans are using the cannabis sativaplant, typically known as , to relax or treat pain, anxiety, insomnia, and other conditions. Yet more data is needed on its impact. The nation has warmed toward the use of cannabis, but policy continues to outpace the science, says neuroscientist Staci Gruber, EdM 95, PhD, whos working to change that.

    Gruber, a Harvard Medical School associate professor of psychiatry, directs both the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core and the program at McLean Hospital. She and her team are using cognitive and clinical measures, as well as neuroimaging techniques like functional MRI, to help elucidate how cannabis affects the human brain. They have discovered, for example, that individuals who start heavy recreational marijuana use before age 16when the brain is still developingmay perform more poorly on cognitive or behavioral tasks involving the frontal cortex, such as memory, attention, and judgment, than those who dont use cannabis or who started using it later in life. A recent paper that Gruber co-authored underscored these findings using results from a simulated driving test. Neuroimaging has also revealed changes in white matter, the neural fibers critical for efficient communication among brain regions, in early-onset cannabis users.

    Cannabis Use In People With Chronic Schizophrenia

    Does Marijuana Cause Brain Damage?  BayAreaCannabis

    Individuals who have chronic schizophrenia and a prior history of marijuana and other drug use have an earlier age of onset of schizophrenia than those who never use any drugs . They also are significantly more likely to be males than females. They have less negative and more positive symptoms compared with non-users, and they respond less well to antipsychotic treatment . If they continue to use drugs once released from the hospital, their course of illness tends to be more severe than those who do not use drugs , but this is not specific to cannabis. Patients with schizophrenia who continue to abuse drugs after the first psychotic episode are also more likely to be medication non-compliant , which may then contribute to their poor prognosis. These non-abstinent patients also have more suicide attempts than those who abstain from cannabis use . Cannabis use additionally appears to exacerbate symptoms of schizophrenia . The above quoted studies, however, do not address causality. It is likely that cannabis potentiates a neurochemical deficit in the dopaminergic pathway that causes the above effects , but whether it is causing structural damage to the already compromised brain structure of someone with chronic schizophrenia is unknown.

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    The Mailing System Of The Brain And Thc

    Think of the receptor system in the brain like that mail system that we discussed before. Once they drop off their package at the mailbox, then the package spends time in the mailbox or at the door. This is similar to how a chemical transfer works in the brain. Once the neurotransmitter drops the chemical off, then the chemical gets to work producing the feeling associated with the message, whether the message they are sending and receiving is about happy feelings or more negative feelings.

    So for example, lets say that the dopamine mailman has come and delivered your daily dose of dopamine. Once the dopamine has linked up to your receiving mailbox, then it sits there and does its business to make us feel happy. After a time, we goes to pick up the mail for the day and disconnects that dopamine from the receptor in the mailbox.

    This allows the receptor to be ready to accept its next drop off from the mailman. The same can be said for the cannabinoid receptor system that THC impacts. Once the cannabinoids have linked up with their special receptors, a protein comes along and removes the messenger chemical from the receptor.

    When using drugs or alcohol, this communication or mailing process can get knocked out of sync or out of order. This can cause the neurotransmitter to stay connected to its receptor longer or to even potentially come back too soon.

    What Pot Really Does To The Teen Brain

    How much should we worry?

    Celia Krampien

    American parents have been warning teenagers about the dangers of marijuana for about 100 years. Teenagers have been ignoring them for just as long. As I write this, a couple of kids are smoking weed in the woods just yards from my office window and about a block and a half from the local high school. They started in around 9 A.M., just in time for class.

    Exaggerating the perils of cannabisthe risks of brain damage, addiction, psychosishas not helped. Any whiff of Reefer Madness hyperbole is perfectly calibrated to trigger an adolescent’s instinctive skepticism for whatever an adult suggests. And the unvarnished facts are scary enough.

    We know that being high impairs attention, memory and learning. Some of today’s stronger varieties can make you physically ill and delusional. But whether marijuana can cause lasting damage to the brain is less clear.

    A slew of studies in adults have found that nonusers beat chronic weed smokers on tests of attention, memory, motor skills and verbal abilities, but some of this might be the result of lingering traces of cannabis in the body of users or withdrawal effects from abstaining while taking part in a study. In one hopeful finding, a 2012 meta-analysis found that in 13 studies in which participants had laid off weed for 25 days or more, their performance on cognitive tests did not differ significantly from that of nonusers.


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    Medical Marijuana Can Help Manage Several Health Conditions

    Some strains of marijuana were used in folk medicine to manage mood disorders and stress therapy for women due to their moderate medicinal and psychoactive qualities. Today balanced CBD strains are used on anxiety patients. A 2012 clinical study found that that cannabinoids have potential applications in the treatment of stress-induced disorders. They work by modulating the activities of receptors, which control fear.

    Several studies and clinical trials on animal and human subjects have demonstrated that THC has the potential to shrink brain tumors. Studies on human participants showed that THC killed tumor cells while preserving healthy brain tissue.

    The ability of marijuana to restore damaged brain cells and improve their functionality has found applications in the management of Alzheimer patients. Marijuana produced positive results on Alzheimer patients as well as those with Parkinsons and Huntingtons disease. It is possible that the anti-inflammation effects of cannabidiols caused the improvement of brain disorders.

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    Chronic Pot Use May Have Serious Effects On The Brain Experts Say

    Can smoking marijuana every day cause brain damage? 420 Evaluations Online

    As marijuana legalization builds momentum across the United States with Michigan becoming the latest state to allow recreational use by adults researchers are warning that more studies are needed on the long-term effects of chronic pot smoking on the human brain.

    According to a 2017 poll conducted by Marist College and Yahoo News, more than half of American adults have tried marijuana at least once in their lives, and nearly 55 million of them, or 22 percent, say they use it currently. Close to 35 million are what the survey calls “regular users,” people who say they use marijuana at least once or twice a month.

    “Surprisingly, many people freely admit to using marijuana, but underreporting remains an issue,” said Jonathan Caulkins, a drug policy researcher and professor at Carnegie Mellon University. “To correct for that one should fudge upwards by a factor of 20 to 40 percent.”

    With Michigan’s Election Day ballot measure, 10 states and the District of Columbia now allow the drug’s open use 33 states plus D.C. allow medical use, leaving many to wonder if the U.S. will follow Canada’s lead in legalizing marijuana nationwide.

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