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How Does Weed Affect The Brain

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The Relationship Between The Cannabinoids And The Endocannabinoid System

How Marijuana Affects Your Developing Brain

The cannabinoids present in marijuana interact with the endocannabinoid system in the human body by binding to its receptors and modulating their activity. This results in changes in the functions with which the receptors are associated.

THC can bind to both CB1 and CB2 receptors, but its activity is thought to be primarily focused on the CB1 receptors. Therefore, since the CB1 receptors are located in parts of the brain responsible for mood, memory, appetite, and motor control, these functions will be influenced by THC when you smoke marijuana.

CBD, on the other hand, doesnt bind to the receptors in the same way, but its thought to inhibit THC from binding fully to them. This results in a more balanced THC activity because too much THC can easily cause side effects. Therefore, CBD has calming effects and anti-inflammatory properties.

How Does Cud Affect Those With Schizophrenia

With higher rates of CUD than the general population, there is strong evidence that cannabis use worsens psychiatric symptoms and quality of life in these people, senior author and CAMH clinician scientist Dr. Tony George says in the statement.

To shed some light on the challenge, investigators examined the effects of active vs. sham, high-frequency rTMS on cannabis use in 24 outpatients with schizophrenia and CUD as part of a double-blind, randomized trial.

CAMH explains that the brains dorsolateral prefrontal cortex , which is associated with the brains reward system and executive function, was targeted.

Nine participants received active stimulation and 10 subjects received sham rTMS five times a week for four weeks. Cannabis use was monitored weekly.

Investigators found that cannabis use, measured in grams per day, was lower in the active vs. sham group of participants.

This, they write, suggests a clinically relevant effect of rTMS. Additionally, members of the active group also experienced a greater reduction in craving and symptoms, improved attention and suppressed increased tobacco use associated with cannabis reductions.

Study authors write that the preliminary findings suggest rTMS to the DLPFC a potential target for treatment development is safe and potentially efficacious for treating CUD in schizophrenia.

Protective Effects Related To Long Term Marijuana Use

Science has shown that certain compounds in marijuana have strong protective effects on the brain. And according to some studies marijuana has the potential to be used as a treatment for various diseases that have their origins in the brain.


In a study done in 2008, researchers found that the most well-known compound in marijuana: THC, is a considerably superior inhibitor of A aggregation than currently approved drugs prescribed for the treatment of Alzheimers disease . A aggregation is the key process that leads to the loss of neurons in Alzheimers disease.

A more recent study in 2014, also confirmed that THC is effective at lowering A aggregation at extremely low concentrations in a dose-dependent manner .

Brain cancer

The 2 most well-known cannabinoids in marijuana:

Have been shown to stop the growth of one of the most aggressive cancers in adult humans: glioma . THC and CBD have been shown to be especially effective in stopping the growth of glioma when combined with traditional radiotherapy.

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Physical Changes In The Brain Caused By Long

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 that 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.

Effect Of Marijuana Use On Iq


The effect Marijuana has on the brain is influenced by the amount a person has smoked and the users age. Individuals under 25, whose brains are still developing, are most susceptible to the effects of Marijuana on the brain. A study of Marijuanas effect on IQ revealed individuals who began using Marijuana at a young age lost 6 to 8 points from their IQ by middle age. Moreover, those who smoked Marijuana throughout their adolescence, then stopped, did not regain their IQ points. Conversely, individuals who began using Marijuana in their adulthood did not experience any IQ loss.

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The Brain’s Reward System

The brains of people who have smoked pot for many years may respond differently to certain rewards, compared with the brains of people who don’t use the drug, according to a recent study. In the study, researchers wanted to see whether the brains of 59 chronic marijuana users would respond differently to the photos of objects used for smoking marijuana than they did to the photos of objects that are considered “natural rewards,” such as their favorite fruits.

The scientists found that study participants who had smoked marijuana for 12 years, on average, exhibited greater activity in the brain’s reward system when they looked at photos of objects that they used for smoking marijuana than when they looked at photos of their favorite fruits. In comparison, the people in the control group who did not smoke marijuana did not show greater activity in this brain region when they were shown marijuana-related objects, according to the findings, published in May 2016 in the journal Human Brain Mapping.

“This study shows that marijuana disrupts the natural reward circuitry of the brain, making marijuana highly to those who use it heavily,” study author Dr. Francesca Filbey, an associate professor of behavioral and brain science at the University of Texas at Dallas, said in a statement.

Does Marijuana Kill Brain Cells How Weed Affects Cognition

by Tyler | Last updated Sep 16, 2021 | Published on Sep 16, 2021 | Cannabinoids |

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  • Does Marijuana Kill Brain Cells? How Weed Affects Cognition

What are the side effects that come to mind when you think of marijuana use? Most likely giggling, slowed speech and movements, and a sudden craving for snacks. This bumbling stereotype might lead you to believe that marijuana makes you dumber, but the scientific consensus seems to be that marijuana does not kill brain cells. This doesnt mean that marijuana is harmless, however.

While weed doesnt directly result in the death of the neurons the way that stress, head trauma, or other types of substances can, it can still go on to cause significantand long-lastingdamage. This brain damage can lead to permanent side effects such as impaired memory, mental illness, and in the case of adolescents and their still-developing brains, a lower IQ.

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Probable Mechanisms Associated With Cannabis Mediated Neurological Diseases

Although the mechanism behind THC induced cognitive and behavioral dysfunction is yet to be established, recent studies conducted on mice model have demonstrated that these detrimental effects are facilitated by astrocyte CNR1 . Moreover, THC may activate nuclear factor κB signal as well as upregulate cyclooxygenase-2 which may result in elevated release of glutamate by astrocytes .

Interestingly, all the cannabis users do not experience cognitive impairment which clearly suggests the impact of genetic vulnerability on detrimental effects of cannabis . Likewise, several preclinical studies in genetically mutated mice model for psychiatric disorders showed higher effect of THC on memory although the underlying mechanism of the effect of genetic mutation on cognitive function has not been delineated yet . A recent study reported that genetic predisposition and THC exposure synergistically activates the NF-κB-COX-2 signal in astrocytes. This activation results in excessive glutamate secretion and decreased immunoreactivity of parvalbumin-positive presynaptic boutons around pyramidal neurons of the CA3 area of the hippocampus as well as impaired memory. It has been suggested from this research that, COX-2 inhibitors can prevent these cognitive deficits which may act as a potential target for future studies .

How Cannabis Affects Younger People

How Does Marijuana Affect Your Brain?

Cannabis is only potentially safe for use by adults.

Children and teenagers are susceptible to potential ill effects. When a mother uses cannabis while pregnant, the baby may develop memory and concentration issues as they grow.

Breastfeeding mothers who also use cannabis may be exposing their baby to its potentially harmful effects. Women should avoid using cannabis while pregnant and breastfeeding.

Cannabis may affect the brain development of older children and teenagers. This can lead to memory loss, concentration issues, and impaired problem-solving skills.

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How Does Marijuana Affect The Central Nervous System


People have always been curious about marijuana and its effects, and ever since its usage has increased, marijuana has been discussed and studied more extensively than ever. We have been slowly learning how cannabis interacts with the human body and a lot of things arent a mystery anymore like it was in the past.

Therefore, in this article, well talk about how marijuana affects the central nervous system and produces its effects. Well cover the basics about the nervous system and the cannabinoids present in marijuana, and how the two interact. Lets start!

Effects Of Cannabinoids On Hypothalamic Control Of Appetite

Many subjective reports suggest that cannabis intoxication is associated with an increased appetite, particularly for sweet foods, even in subjects who were previously satiated. This effect can be confirmed under laboratory conditions , although results from studies in human subjects have tended to be variable, perhaps because the increased appetite is focused on certain types of food. Nevertheless, controlled clinical trials showed that THC had significant beneficial effects in counteracting the loss of appetite and reduction in body weight in patients suffering from the AIDSrelated wasting syndrome , and this is one of the medical indications for which the drug has official approval in the USA.

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Effects Of Marijuana On The Nervous System

THC acts on cannabinoid receptors which are found on neurons in many places in the brain. These brain areas are involved in memory , concentration, perception and movement . When THCactivates cannabinoid receptors, it interfers with the normal functioningof these brain areas. In low to medium doses, marijuana causes:

  • relaxation
  • sleepiness
  • disruption in attention
  • an altered sense of time and space…a goodreason not to drive or operate machinery while under theinfluence.

In high doses, marijuana can cause:

  • hallucinations
  • impaired memory
  • disorientation.

Scientists have known for a long time that THC interacted withcannabinoid receptors in the brain, but did not know why the brain wouldhave such receptors. They thought that the brain must make some kind ofsubstance that naturally acted on these receptors. In 1992, they foundthe answer…anandamide. Anandamide is the brain’s own THC . Still, scientists are not surewhat the function of anandamide is in the normal brain.

The effects of marijuana start as soon as 1-10 minutes after it istaken and can last 3 to 4 hours or even longer. Experiments have shownthat THC can affect two neurotransmitters: norepinephrine and dopamine. Serotonin and GABA levels may also be altered.

How Do Cannabinoids Affect The Brain

How Cannabinoids Affect the Brain

Your brain has specific cannabinoid receptors, and cannabinoids act on these receptors in different ways .

A simplified version of how cannabinoids affect the brain:

  • Activate brain receptors, stimulating the activity of neurotransmitters that communicate with these receptors or
  • Bind to these brain receptors, inhibiting the uptake and increasing the presence of certain neurotransmitters in the brain.

This holds true especially in particular parts of the brain where the amount of these cannabinoid receptors is larger than in other parts.

Cannabinoid receptors in the brain are mainly located in 00428-9″ rel=”nofollow”> 2):

  • Forebrain areas related to higher cognitive functions
  • Forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain areas related to the control of movement, and
  • Hindbrain areas related to the control of motor and sensory functions of the autonomic nervous system.
  • protective effects
  • Changes in your psychomotor abilities
  • Changes in your cognitive processes
  • Changes in your perception, mood, and consciousness , and
  • Potential physical changes in your brain in the long term, even when you arent under the influence of any marijuana.

Then theres the distinction that has to be made, between acute and long-term effects of marijuana on the brain.

Heres why:

Long-term effects are harder to reverse than short-term effects. If marijuana has the potential to alter your brain chemistry in the long term , its important that youre careful with its use.

First, we start with the:

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Increased Risk Of Psychosis

People who frequently use marijuana, especially those for recreational reasons have a higher risk to develop psychosis. Since people who use marijuana often enjoy the psychoactive effects and the euphoric effects of marijuana, this will aid their brain in developing psychosis which is a mental illness that has symptoms of drifting away from reality by hallucinating and paranoia. Aside from psychosis, people who consume a high dosage of marijuana are candidates to develop schizophrenia compared to people who never consumed marijuana.

What Does Weed Do To The Brain

The Cannabis sativa plant contains hundreds of different chemicals present in varying amounts, depending on the strain and how its grown. The compound that recreational marijuana users care about most is the psychoactive one: delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Generally, the higher the THC content, the more potent and potentially intoxicating the weed.

Because THC is the coveted compound, growers today breed plants to produce a lot of it, says Staci Gruber, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of the Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery program at McLean Hospital in Massachusetts. Nowadays, weed is more than 300 percent stronger than the stuff from the mid-1990s.

THC content has gone through the roof while the amounts of CBD and other constituents that might mitigate the negative effects of THC have gone down, she says. The ratio of THC to other compounds went from 14 to 1 to 100 to 1. This ratio matters because it dictates exactly how pot affects the brain and body.

Marijuana works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, which is composed of chemicals and receptors located all throughout the body. There are endocannabinoid receptors in the liver, intestines, fat, vasculature, and every single cell and organ system, says Daniele Piomelli, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center for the Study of Cannabis at the University of California, Irvine. But the greatest concentration is in the brain.

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What Happens To Your Brain When You Smoke Marijuana

Tetrahydrocannabinol is the active chemical in cannabis responsible for most of its psychoactive effects. When you smoke cannabis, THC and other chemicals in the plant enter your bloodstream through your lungs, where they are then carried to your brain. If you eat or drink cannabis, your liver converts it into an even more powerful molecule than when it is smoked . This can lead to a more intense high.

When THC is in the brain, it changes overall brain activity, especially in areas that are involved in thoughts, feelings, and perception. These changes vary from person to person, so people experience different effects from THC. Many people report feelings of:

  • Stress relief

  • Happiness

  • Pain relief

However, THC can also cause problems with thinking, memories, and body control. Some people also report anxiety and panic.

Whats more, THC activates the reward system of your brain and causes it to release a chemical called dopamine. Since other activities that activate this system are often essential to survival like eating and sex the brain is more likely to want to repeat the act of smoking pot in the future .

So, if you repeat this process over and over again, for many years, does it permanently change how your brain functions?

Lets take a look.

Cannabinoid Mechanisms In The Hippocampus And Effects On Memory

Is marijuana bad for your brain? – Anees Bahji

One of the well established effects of acute intoxication with cannabis in man is an impairment of shortterm memory . Many studies have shown significant effects on shortterm memory, particularly when tests were used that depend heavily on attention . Animal studies have also found that THC, synthetic cannabinoids and anandamide cause deficits in shortterm memory in spatial learning tasks . These include delayed matching or nonmatching tests in rodents , performance in a radial arm maze , and a fixed ratio food acquisition task in squirrel monkeys . The effects of both cannabinoids and anandamide were reversed by rimonabant, indicating that they are mediated by the CB1 receptor.

One approach to answering the question of what role the tonic release of endocannabinoids may play in hippocampal function has been to examine the effects of CB1 receptor knockout or of selective CB1 receptor antagonists. Un fortunately, these studies have so far yielded conflicting results. reported a significant enhancement of LTP in CB1 knockout mice, and found a significant enhancement of memory in such animals. However, tests with the CB1 antagonist rimonabant showed no effects on LTP or on learning and memory in a spatial learning task , although

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How Reliable Is The Research

Until recently, much of the research on cannabis use relied on people using cannabis bought on the street. We dont know how pure this cannabis was, and some of it couldve contained toxins like pesticides and heavy metals. These contaminants might have contributed to the harmful effects of cannabis seen in studies. The legal cannabis sold in the dispensaries cropping up across the country doesnt have these contaminants due to legal requirements and lab testing.

Another factor in the older studies is that the people who bought and abused street cannabis were more likely to be risk-takers in other areas of their lives which means there could have been other causes for the effects seen in the studies. In contrast, todays users may be a different breed who are only now warming up to the drug because its legal.

Lastly, older studies heavily relied on chronic cannabis users . Studies in Canada have shown that a large number of users there take cannabis three times per month or less.

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