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What Does Marijuana Do To The Brain

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The Effect Of Marijuana On The Teenage Brain

Is marijuana bad for your brain? – Anees Bahji

When a person uses marijuana, the principal psychoactive chemical called tetrahydrocannabinol passes from the lungs or digestive tract into the bloodstream. The blood carries THC to the brain, where it acts on specific cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are predominantly found in areas of the brain associated with concentration, thinking, sensory and time perception, pleasure, memory, and coordination.3 Over activation of these areas by THC causes the high that people feel.4 such as attention, memory, and learning, and these effects can last up to several days beyond the time of actual high.5

Unfortunately for teenagers, marijuana use can have much more long-term effects. The teenage brain is not yet fully mature, with neurodevelopment continuing until at least the early or mid-20s. During adolescence the brain is particularly sensitive to drug exposure, and marijuana use impacts how connections are formed within the brain.3 Other effects on the developing brain include interference with neurotransmitters and abnormal brain shape and structure volume.6

Studies have shown that the use of marijuana is associated with reduced cognitive function in teens.7 One study found that teens who regularly use marijuana lose an average of 5.8 IQ points by the time they reach adulthood.8 A recent study found that marijuana has a more negative impact on a teenagers cognitive development than alcohol.9

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 .

Most Researchers Agree That The People Most Susceptible To Brain Changes Are Those Who Begin Using Marijuana Regularly During Adolescence

A small study of teenagers in Europe found that people who used marijuana had more gray matter in their brains, which can affect how humans mature over time.

The researchers noticed these brain-level changes in teens who had just one or two joints in their lifetimes.

Although researchers are unsure whether higher brain volume is bad for health, they do know brain volume naturally decreases during the aging process, according to the National Institutes of Health .

An international meta-analysis of 23,317 young adults also found that , anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.

“Although the causes of major depressive disorder are multifactorial and complex, this meta-analysis suggests that the cannabis exposure could be 1 factor contributing to depression in young adulthood,” the researchers wrote.

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What Does A Persons Brain Look Like When Theyre High

Marijuana enthusiasts know that being under the influence will change your perception of self and the world around you. So even though regular users might not think itâs too bad of an idea to jump behind the wheel stoned or possibly light up on the road, this 2013 study published in the open-access journal PLOS One suggests that THC changes your perception and attention so much that it can be difficult or dangerous to drive.

The study shows the levels of brain activity in people who are performing a âvisuo-motor tracking taskâ that simulates the cognitive processing and visual recognition a person would use to drive.

There are a lot of studies that show the inner workings of the brain of a person who uses marijuana, but there arenât too many that actually show what it looks like while theyâre stoned.

In this case, people who smoked marijuana and attempted the exercise showed a decrease in blood flow to their anterior insula, dorsomedial thalamus, and striatum compared to people who smoked placebo weed.

Now if you recall, the insula is associated with initiating actions based on physical state, and the striatum is associated with reward and decision-making. The dorsomedial thalamus is involved with memory and cognition.

While high, you might not realize that your dog is eating your Fritos, or, more dangerously, maybe not react in time to see a pedestrian running in front of your car.

Synthetic Marijuanas Effect On The Brain

What marijuana does to your body and brain

Synthetic Marijuana, a man-made Hallucinogenic substance typically sprayed onto plant material, is not safe for human consumption but has become popular in recent years. Also known as Fake Weed, it produces mind-altering effects and can cause the individual to act in an odd manner. Synthetic Marijuana is illegal and may have toxic ingredients that can cause increased heart rate, unexplained bleeding, and vomiting.

Similarly to Marijuana, Synthetic Marijuana affects the brain by attaching itself to the Cannabinoid receptor type 1 found in both the central and peripheral nervous systems. Synthetic Weed binds more strongly to CB1 receptors than THC, making it at least 100 times more potent in the brain. Because CB1 receptors have multiple locations in the brain, side effects can be intense and harmful.

Synthetic Marijuana may cause the brain and body to experience:

  • Memory loss

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Why Does Cannabis Affect The Brain

Cannabis affects the brain by engaging special receptor sites on cells. These receptors are called cannabinoid receptors, a name inspired by the cannabis plant.

The cannabis plant produces chemical compounds that take the place of similar compounds that human bodies create naturally .

The primary psychoactive in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol , has a psychotropic effect because of the way it engages cannabinoid receptors in the brain.

While researchers are still working to uncover the mystery of how cannabis affects the mind and body, it is known that these receptors are located in parts of the central nervous system that control:

  • Motor function
  • Pleasure
  • Pain

Cannabis receptors are also found extensively throughout the body, assisting in the communication between the central nervous system and the rest of the body. Some experts describe the endocannabinoid system as the largest neurotransmitter system in humans.

Chemical Composition Of C Sativa

More than 421 chemicals are present in C. sativa of which 61 chemicals are cannabinoids. During cannabis smoking, over 2,000 compounds including hydrocarbon, nitrogenous compounds, amino acids, fatty acid, sugar etc. are produced by pyrolysis and all of these substances are responsible for different pharmacological as well as toxicological properties of cannabis .

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It May Affect Your Mental Health

Not everyones experience with marijuana is pleasant. It often can leave you anxious, afraid, or panicked. Using pot may raise your chances for clinical depression or worsen the symptoms of any mental disorders you already have. Scientists arent yet sure exactly why. In high doses, it can make you paranoid or lose touch with reality so you hear or see things that arent there.

Effects Of Cannabinoids On Hypothalamic Control Of Appetite

What Does Cannabis Do To The Brain? | Brit Lab

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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Cannabinoids And The Neocortex

Like other intoxicant drugs cannabis causes profound changes in a variety of higher brain functions. The literature on the acute effects of the drug in human subjects is large, and can only be summarized here . The distribution of CB1 receptors in the neocortex has been described in detail . As in the hippocampus, the majority of cortical interneurons expressing high levels of CB1 receptor are GABAergic cells, which also express cholecystokinin . CB1positive terminals are concentrated in layers IIIII and layers VVI, with few in layers I or IV. Despite the obvious importance of the abundant CB1 receptors in the neocortex there have so far been few electrophysiological studies of their effects on neural activity.

have suggested that anandamide may play a role in the control of the sleepwaking cycle.

What Does Marijuana Do To Your Brain

THC is one of the main cannabinoids of marijuana and it is a psychoactive compound. So, what does marijuana do to your brain? Scientists have already discovered how it works once its inside the body and why youll be able to reach euphoria. THC reacts with the endocannabinoid system in humans bodies as it can act as a receptor. Keep on reading to know more.

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What Does Cannabis Do To Your Brain

If compounds in cannabis can engage cells in the brain, what does the herb actually do to you? Unfortunately, there is still a lot to learn about how the cannabis plant works its magic throughout the body and mind.

However, research within the last five years can shed some light into the pros and cons of cannabis in the brain. Though cannabis programs are now available in over half of all US states, much of the reefer madness era myths still prevail.

When it comes to the big concerns over what cannabis does to the brain, these two studies have debunked some of the most common negative cannabis and brain health claims:

There’s Evidence That Marijuana Use During Pregnancy Could Have Negative Effects


According to the new NASEM report, there’s substantial evidence showing a link between prenatal cannabis exposure when a pregnant woman uses marijuana and lower birth weight. There was limited evidence suggesting that using marijuana during pregnancy could cause complications and increase the risk that a baby would have to spend time in a neonatal intensive care unit.

A study published in JAMA Psychiatry in September 2020 found that pregnant women who used marijuana had a higher risk of their children having ADHD and/or psychotic behaviors that have been linked to schizophrenia.

And an analysis, published in Nature Medicine in August 2020, linked cannabis use among pregnant women to autism in their children. The study, conducted in Ontario, Canada, involved data from 3,000 women who used cannabis during pregnancy.

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What Does A Persons Brain Look Like When Deciding To Smoke Weed

Decision-making is a complex process thatâs not limited to just one part of the brain. A 2015 fMRI study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmocology centered on 17 participants as they made the decision to smoke. The results suggested that the choice to smoke marijuana is accompanied by a consistent level of activation in a range of brain regions.

Brain imaging showed activation in the subjectsâ dorsal striatum, insula, posterior parietal regions, anterior and posterior cingulate, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex as the person decided to smoke marijuana.

This fMRI fingerprint of the decision to smoke marijuana allowed researchers to distinguish smokers from non-smokers with 100 percent accuracy, suggesting that a personâs brain activates in a distinct pattern when making the decision to smoke marijuana.

The functions of these brain regions tell us a little little bit about the decision to smoke weed, too:

  • The dorsal striatum is associated with calculating rewards and making decisions.
  • The insula is associated with initiating actions based on a personâs physical state.
  • The posterior cingulate cortex, while not fully understood, is thought to either direct oneâs focus of attention or be associated with internally-directed cognition.

Cannabis Research Reportwhat Are Marijuana’s Effects

When marijuana is smoked, THC and other chemicals in the plant pass from the lungs into the bloodstream, which rapidly carries them throughout the body to the brain. The person begins to experience effects almost immediately . Many people experience a pleasant euphoria and sense of relaxation. Other common effects, which may vary dramatically among different people, include heightened sensory perception , laughter, altered perception of time, and increased appetite.

If marijuana is consumed in foods or beverages, these effects are somewhat delayedusually appearing after 30 minutes to 1 hourbecause the drug must first pass through the digestive system. Eating or drinking marijuana delivers significantly less THC into the bloodstream than smoking an equivalent amount of the plant. Because of the delayed effects, people may inadvertently consume more THC than they intend to.

Although detectable amounts of THC may remain in the body for days or even weeks after use, the noticeable effects of smoked marijuana generally last from 1 to 3 hours, and those of marijuana consumed in food or drink may last for many hours.

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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.

Regular Marijuana Use May Also Be Connected To An Increased Risk Of Social Anxiety

Pot Does This To Your Brain

Researchers think it’s possible that CBD might be a useful treatment for anxiety disorders, and that’s something that several institutions are currently trying to study.

The recent report suggested that evidence of a link between marijuana and an increased risk of most anxiety disorders was limited.

However, the authors wrote that there is moderate evidence that regular marijuana use is connected to an increased risk of social anxiety. As in other cases, it’s hard to know whether marijuana use causes that increase or people use marijuana because of an increased risk of social anxiety.

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Physiology Of Cerebrovascular System

The word cerebrovascular consists of two parts: âcerebroâ means large part of the brain and âvascularâ refers to arteries and veins. Thus, the cerebrovascular system refers to the blood vessels through which blood is carried out to and from the brain. The cerebrovascular anatomy has an endocranial and exocranial component that can be further divided into the anterior and posterior circulation based on the contribution of blood flow through the internal carotid arteries and vertebral arteries, respectively .

Blood-brain barrier , a part of the neurovascular unit , is a unique, dynamic, physical, and biochemical regulatory boundary/barrier which restricts and regulates the exchange of molecules, ions, and cells between the peripheral circulation and central nervous system and maintains cerebral homeostasis precisely as well . It transports essential nutrients which are required for the normal metabolism of the brain cells . The BBB is primarily composed of endothelial cells, pericytes, and astrocytes restricting the communication between blood and the brain parenchyma . As a result, the BBB plays a pivotal role in restraining the entry of neurotoxic plasma components, xenobiotics, blood cells, and pathogens in the brain thus protecting the CNS from inflammation, injury, and different types of diseases . On contrary, the BBB also limits drug delivery into the brain to treat different neurological diseases .

It’s Worth Noting That Marijuana Has Likely Gotten Stronger Since The 1980s And That Its Ratio Of Thc To Cbd Has Changed As Well

The THC content of marijuana across the US has tripled since 1995, according to a large recent study in which researchers reviewed close to 39,000 samples of cannabis. While THC levels hovered around 4%, on average, in 1995, they skyrocketed to roughly 12% in 2014.

Meanwhile, the CBD content in marijuana the part that’s responsible for many of the drug’s therapeutic effects has dropped, the researchers found, shifting the ratio of THC to CBD from 14:1 in 1995 to about 80:1 in 2014.

Still, tracking THC potency over time can be tricky. The older a weed sample gets, the more its THC appears to degrade. How it is stored matters too. These two barriers could be interfering somewhat with the metrics on pot’s potency.

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