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How Does Smoking Affect Your Brain

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Take a look back in time and remind yourself of your very first puff. After you had stopped coughing, you probably felt a pleasurable wave of dizziness and relaxation.

It is no secret that smoking weed and cigarettes influence the human body. Most of the now regular smokers once started from an occasional puff here and there to chill out, and before they knew it, they couldnt resist asking themselves a question what weed shops near me are the best to become my fixed supplier?

Once the thought referred to buying a single unit of weed. Now, that idea is extended to more modern smoking solutions, such as vaping. Vaping practices are meant to be less smelly, healthier for the organism, and cleaned of toxic substances. That is why many people convert from the usual way of smoking into the new, less harmful ones.

However, the question of vaping healthiness leaves a lot of space for discussion. Is vaping good for your body and brain?

Many people would argue that it is. They would probably say that vaping helps people relax and makes them feel more at ease. Others, on the other hand, would say that it is far from being healthier.

Most likely, the truth lies somewhere in between. Undoubtedly, the modern versions of smoking offer a lot of benefits compared to old-fashion combust joints. Nevertheless, they are not entirely harmless.

Is Brain Damage Permanent

Individuals who abuse drugs like methamphetamine are often at greater risk to have accidents or become involved in assaults that lead to traumatic brain injuries. Of course, having the combination of a traumatic brain injury and a chronic history of methamphetamine abuse will result in a number of potentially serious neurological issues.

Some of the above effects may resolve, and there may be some improvement over time. For example, research indicates that damage to the dopamine transporter system may repair over time with significant abstinence. However, the loss of neurons in the CNS cannot be fully recovered. The CNS may recover some partial functions that are significantly lost due to a mechanism known as neural plasticity . However, this function is limited, and there is quite a bit of individual variability that occurs in the recovery process. Individuals who have chronically abused methamphetamine for significant periods of time may suffer a number of permanent neurological and cognitive effects.

What Happens In Your Body

When you smoke, harmful chemicals enter your lungs and spread through your body. They can:

  • reach your brain, heart and other organs within 10 seconds of your first puff
  • go everywhere your blood flows, harming every part of your body

Even if you dont inhale tobacco smoke, you still absorb harmful chemicals through the lining of your mouth.

Also Check: What Does The Hipocampus Do

Does Smoking Really Affect Your Brain

31st May is known as the World No Tobacco Day and for a good reason too. Did you know that more than 10 million die each year in India due to tobacco? India is home to 12% of the worlds smokers, according to the World Health Organization . You have heard numerous people tell you that smoking affects your lungs. You have seen the gross pictures on cigarette packs but smoked anyway. But did you know that smoking affects your brain too?

Smoking And Increased Health Risks

The impacts of smoking on the brain fucntion

Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to develop heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer.1

  • Estimates show smoking increases the risk:
  • For coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times1,6
  • For stroke by 2 to 4 times1
  • Of men developing lung cancer by 25 times1
  • Of women developing lung cancer by 25.7 times1
  • Smoking causes diminished overall health, increased absenteeism from work, and increased health care utilization and cost.1
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    Smoking And Mental Health

    We all know the physical health risks of smoking tobacco, but did you know smoking also affects people’s mental health?

    If youre a smoker, there is now a lot of support available to help you quit. Its never too late to give up, and you may find that quitting reduces your levels of stress, anxiety and depression.

    Increased Glutamate Calcium In The Brain

    Increases in the neurotransmitter glutamate and calcium are often associated with neurotoxic effects in the brain as a result of the neurons being overly excited and continuing to fire to the point of actually damaging the system. If not modulated, this can result in significant damage throughout the central nervous system.

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    What Are Other Health Effects

    While nicotine is addictive, most of the health effects come from other tobacco chemicals. Tobacco use harms every organ in your body. Smoking tobacco products can cause lung, mouth, stomach, kidney, and bladder cancers. It can also cause lung problems, like coughing, and lead to heart disease, eye problems, and yellow teeth.

    Smokeless tobacco products are dangerous, too. They can cause oral cancer and heart and gum disease.

    Learn more: See our latest updates on nicotine, tobacco, and vaping.

    Healing The Altered Brains Of Smokers

    Effects of Smoking : How Does Smoking Affect the Brain?

    The likelihood of a cigarette smoker successfully quitting on any given attempt is low, given uncomfortable, negative affective withdrawal symptoms. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms are linked, at least in part, with reduced activity in the brains reward processing system, so scientists want to better understand activity in these areas of the brain before and after receiving available smoking cessation medications.

    In this study, researchers gave two commonly used smoking cessation medications or placebo to nonsmokers and smokers . The researchers then asked the participants to play a game in which they received positive or negative feedback based on their performance. At the same time, the researchers measured participants brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging . This allowed scientists to look at the brains habenula and striatum, two interconnected brain regions believed to be linked to reward processing. Previous research using this task showed that positive feedback activated the striatum, whereas negative feedback activated the habenula.

    The research was conducted by scientists at NIDAs Intramural Research Program and Florida International University with additional funding support from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

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    Psychological Or Psychiatric Issues

    Individuals who chronically abuse methamphetamine are more susceptible to the development of severe psychiatric disorders, including issues with psychotic-like behaviors, such as delusions, hallucinations, impaired reality testing, etc. Some of these psychotic-like behaviors can be rather idiosyncratic. For example, the term meth bugs refers to a psychiatric condition where chronic methamphetamine users have a sensation that their skin is crawling or itching with bugs even though no external stimulation is occurring. This condition will often remit but may return spontaneously in some individuals.

    Individuals who enter a formal substance use disorder treatment program and are successful in maintaining abstinence often recover some level of functioning however, in many cases, significant residual effects remain. Research indicates that there is quite a bit of variability in recovery that is often related to a number of personal variables as well as the length and seriousness of an individual√Ęs use of methamphetamine.

    How You Become Addicted

    The nicotine in tobacco is highly addictive. It makes your brain release a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is a feel good chemical that:

    • makes you feel happy
    • gives you more energy

    But this effect doesnt last long.

    As the nicotine levels in your body fade, your brain craves more dopamine. The longer you have been smoking, the more dopamine you need to feel good. You become dependent on nicotine.

    Once you are dependent on nicotine, without it you will have withdrawal symptoms. You may find it difficult to concentrate or feel nervous, restless, irritable or anxious.

    These two things nicotine dependence and nicotine withdrawal make you want to smoke more. You become addicted to tobacco.

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    The Dangers Of Teen Smoking

    During adolescence, the brain undergoes extensive developmental changes. However, different brain regions develop at different speeds and at different times.

    For instance, brain regions involved in processing emotions undergo extensive developmental changes at puberty. Brain regions involved in rational thought, decision-making and impulse control , on the other hand, continue to develop at a slower pace throughout adolescence and well into adulthood. Were you a moody teenager who couldnt seem to control their impulses and actions? Now you know why Strong emotional processes but underdeveloped cognitive processes may lead to impulsivity and susceptibility to peer pressure behaviors that are commonly associated with smoking.

    Adolescents progress faster to nicotine dependence than adults, find nicotine more rewarding, underestimate the risks of smoking, and are more influenced by smoking behavior in their social milieu. Goriounova and Mansvelder, 2012.

    While impulsivity, social interactions and easy access to cigarettes may motivate teens to start smoking, other factors determine whether this initial behavior will become a habit.

    Lastly, our genes may have a modest influence on our nicotine sensitivity and dependence.

    Physical Changes In The Brain Caused By Long

    How Does Smoking Affect Your Brain

    The physical changes in the brain refer to brain volume and the increase/decrease of specific types of brain substances like gray matter and neurons.

    Heavy and chronic use of any psychoactive substance has the potential to change your brain volume and brain chemistry in a significant way.

    But is there any evidence for marijuana?

    Currently, theres one brain part where researchers found that heavy and frequent marijuana use can lead to a significant reduction in the volume of gray matter:

    • The hippocampus.

    This finding is based on the largest systematic review study, which scrutinized the results of 14 studies which looked into structural brain alterations caused by marijuana.

    The hippocampus is mainly associated with short-term memory, long-term memory, and spatial navigation. This means that heavy and frequent marijuana use can negatively influence all of these brain functions.

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    Smoking Increases The Risk Of Stroke

    If you smoke say, 20 cigarettes a day, you are 6 times more likely to have a stroke than a non-smoker. Tobacco contains over 7,000 harmful chemicals, including formaldehyde, cyanide, arsenic, and carbon monoxide. These toxic chemicals get transferred from the lungs to the blood. They make platelets more likely to stick together. Platelets help in clotting the blood in case of blood loss, but if the platelets stick together, it increases the chance of clot-forming.

    Smokers are at a higher risk of developing atherosclerosis where arteries become hardened and narrow. It restricts smooth blood flow making the formation of blood clots more likely. If a clot forms in an artery leading to the brain, it can block the blood supply to a part of the brain resulting in a stroke. This is known as ischaemic stroke. Smoking is said to double the risk of having an ischaemic stroke. If a person quits smoking, within 5 years, his/her risk of stroke will start decreasing to that of a non-smoker.

    Smoking Linked To Damage In The Brain

    Cigarette use thins key area for memory, thinking skills and language

    HealthDay Reporter

    FRIDAY, Feb. 13, 2015 — Smoking may damage part of the brain by causing thinning in a crucial area, new research shows.

    The study included more than 500 male and female smokers, former smokers and nonsmokers who were an average of 73 years old.

    Brain scans revealed that current and former smokers had a thinner cortex than those who never smoked. The cortex is where important thought processes such as memory, language and perception occur.

    The researchers also found that stopping smoking leads to partial restoration of the cortex’s thickness, but the process is slow and incomplete. Heavy ex-smokers who hadn’t smoked for more than 25 years still had a thinner cortex than nonsmokers, the researchers found.

    The cortex grows thinner with age, but smoking appears to speed that thinning. And, a thinner cortex is associated with mental decline, the researchers noted.

    The study was published online Feb. 10 in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

    “Smokers should be informed that cigarettes could hasten the thinning of the brain’s cortex, which could lead to . Cortical thinning seems to persist for many years after someone stops smoking,” lead author Dr. Sherif Karama, an assistant professor of psychiatry at McGill University in Montreal, said in a university news release.

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    Effects On The Central Nervous System

    The central nervous system is composed of the brain and spinal cord. It serves as the major relay station for the body and is involved in the actions, regulation, and maintenance of nearly every bodily function. Research looking at the effects of methamphetamine focus primarily on the effects that occur in the brain however, some of these effects can also be expected to generalize to neurons located in the spinal cord. The nerves located in the CNS are referred to as neurons, whereas the nerves outside the CNS are simply referred to as nerves.

    There is a vast body of research investigating the effects of meth use and abuse. Information taken from research articles in the journals Alcoholism and Drug Addiction, Biological Psychiatry, General Physiology and Biophysiology, and PloS One indicates that there are a number of damaging effects associated with chronic use of methamphetamine.

    The Effects Of Tobacco

    How Does Marijuana Affect Your Memory?

    Tobacco contains the stimulant drug nicotine. Nicotine speeds up your central nervous system and makes you feel like you have more energy. It can also affect the brain so that you feel good after smoking. Nicotine is highly addictive so you can get hooked fast making it hard to quit.

    When you first start to smoke you can feel sick and dizzy. It can make your heart beat faster, give you a headache and make you cough. Most of these effects the good ones as well as the bad ones become less as you keep on smoking. Over time, your body gets used to the chemicals in cigarettes, including nicotine.

    When you inhale the nicotine in a cigarette, it hits your brain in about ten seconds and it wears off again within a few minutes. This is why most people feel like they need to keep smoking throughout the day and why it is easy to become dependent on smoking.

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    Your Brain Is Begging You: Stop Smoking

    You know that smoking carries serious health risksasthma, cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are just a few of the disorders linked to the habit. But did you know smoking is also associated with a higher risk of dementia and cognitive decline?

    Observational studies have shown that people who smoke are at higher risk of developing all types of dementia and a much higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease, specifically . Cigarettes and cigarette smoke contain more than 4,700 chemical compounds, including some that are highly toxic such as vinyl chloride, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and heavy metals .

    While scientists aren’t sure which of these toxins are responsible for the increased risk, they do understand some of the ways tobacco products damage our brains. Some scientists have suggested that smoking raises the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by increasing oxidative stress . Smoking can also cause cerebrovascular disease and thus increase the risk of dementia and cognitive impairment caused by mini-strokes and hardening of the arteries . Smokers also have a high risk of insomnia and sleep apnea, both of which could theoretically increase the risk of dementia .

    The good news is that quitting can reduce your risk of dementia, because current smokers have a higher risk than former smokers . And the risk of cognitive decline increases every day and with every cigarette .

    Photo: Lindsay Fox

    Get the latest brain health news:

    The Effects Of Marijuana On Your Memory

    As you get older, certain aspects of memory normally decline, but that does not mean you are powerless to protect your brain as you age. In fact, there is a lot you can do. In addition to getting regular exercise and eating a Mediterranean style diet, you can also consider what is known and not known about marijuana.

    Cannabis contains varying amounts of the potentially therapeutic compound cannabidiol , which may help quell anxiety. However, there’s no question that marijuana can produce short-term problems with thinking, working memory, executive function, and psychomotor function . This is because marijuana’s main psychoactive chemical, THC, causes its effect by attaching to receptors in brain regions that are vital for memory formation, including the hippocampus, amygdala, and cerebral cortex. The extent to which long-term use of marijuana produces persistent cognitive problems is not known.

    The laws regarding marijuana differ from state to state. Some outlaw it altogether, while others allow it for medical purposesto help relieve pain and nausea, for example. And in a growing number of states, marijuana is legal for recreational use. But it remains illegal at the federal level. For that reason, it has been difficult for researchers in the United States to obtain federal research funding to study marijuana, limiting the amount of high-quality evidence available.

    Also Check: Hippocampal Injury Symptoms

    Effectsof Smoking On The Brain And Nervous System

    Tobacco can be obtained byinhaling it or chewing it, but when inhaled, the mixture of nicotine with smalltar particles travels to the lungs, and it is quickly absorbed there, then thenicotine is transferred to the bloodstream, and it soon reaches the brainwithin eight seconds after it is inhaled.

    In the case of obtainingtobacco by chewing it It takes three to five minutes for nicotine to reach thecentral nervous system.

    Nicotine has a cleareffect on both the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system,depending on the person’s mood. The dose of nicotine taken causes smoking tostimulate or relax these two systems.

    Smoking may increase yourrisk of developing dementia and stroke, and it may also cause personalitychanges.

    If you smoke, you mayexperience faster cognitive decline than non-smokers.

    The longer you smoke, thehigher your risk of greater loss of age-related brain volume.

    Speaking of the rapideffect of nicotine, it can be explained as follows:

    • Increased blood pressureor hypertension.
    • Increased heart rate.
    • Constriction andcontraction of the arteries.
    • Stimulation of the centralnervous system.

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