Many people wonder what THC does to the brain. Also, they may wonder how THC relates to marijuana. With over 37 million users in the past year, marijuana is the most commonly used drug in the United States. Both the legal and illegal use of marijuana has grown significantly in the last decade. About half of all Americans say they have used marijuana at some time in their lives. As views towards marijuana have begun to shift, marijuana access has become more mainstream. Leaving many with the same question: “Is weed bad for you?”
Due to the recent marijuana laws for medical or recreational use, 42 states now have new regulations on dealing with wide-scale marijuana use. But as cannabis use continues to grow, people should learn just how marijuana affects the brain. They should also learn about the long-term effects. If you or a loved one are considering treatment or would like additional information, please call (626) 602-2966.
Marijuana is the dried leaves and flowers of the Cannabis sativa or indica plant. THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol is the active chemical in marijuana. This chemical is what causes the “high” that users experience. But how does THC work? It affects specific cell receptors. Generally, these react only to small amounts of naturally occurring chemicals. It is the overreaction of these receptors that cause feelings of happiness. Consequently, it affects specific brain areas that impact coordination, memory, focus, pleasure, and sensory awareness.
Other Names for Marijuana
Like most drugs, marijuana has many different names. Age can also influence what a person calls it. For example, a few nicknames can include:
Though most people who use marijuana smoke the drug by rolling cigarette papers or emptying cigar leaves. However, many more modern methods now exist since the legalization of it. Users eat it in the form of bakery goods, gummies, and chocolates. Marijuana oil is now “vaped” through smokeless electronic devices. These heat up within seconds and do not produce smoke.
Additionally, users can smoke powerful, high concentration drops of THC and other oils. For instance, “dabs.” Typically, this occurs with “rigs.” They are otherwise known as very hot metal nails. If you are worried about a loved one abusing weed call us today. Even if you are addicted to weed yourself, we can help anyone overcome their addiction. We will work with you to get you the help that you need. You will be able to start your happier, healthier life tomorrow.
Weed Affects the Brain Differently Than Other Drugs
How weed affects the brain is different than other drugs. Stimulant drugs such as cocaine and meth, increase alertness and energy. Drugs like alcohol and Xanax are depressants that decrease brain function. Pot is both a stimulant and a depressant drug. Because of the large number of types of weed, the experienced effects can vary. Users reported on how weed affects the brain. They also noted several noted impacts and benefits. For example, increased relaxation and euphoria to heightened alertness and focus.
Marijuana is legal for therapeutic reasons in many states. It has approval when treating or managing a wide range of conditions. Including
- Other illnesses
Chemically, it also contains cannabidiol or CBD. For instance, CBD provides treatment for
- Chronic pain
- Hepatitis C
- Crohn’s disease
Some people also use pot to help ease socialization outside of the home. It is also used for spiritual reasons. For these reasons, many people know how marijuana affects the brain. Thus, causing a movement to legalize the substance.
A Legal Perspective
Most states that have legalized weed use clinics for preparing and selling it. These are called dispensaries. Much like other controlled substances, a person receives a prescription from a specialized doctor. Then they take the prescription to a dispensary for filling. Like Arizona, a few states allow patients to grow their marijuana if they live too far away from a dispensary. Also, patients can donate cannabis to other patients. However, they are not allowed to sell it.
Currently, 11 states, Guam, the District of Columbia, and the Northern Mariana Islands, have fully approved pot for recreational use. Like alcohol, the reasons that a person uses marijuana mainly because of social and non-social situations. Users report an improved experience when engaging in everyday activities. For example:
- Going to a museum
- Listening to music
- Doing chores
- Playing sports
It’s important to note that many states have recently rewritten laws regarding marijuana-related offenses. But it remains illegal on a federal level. It is classified as a Schedule I drug, along with heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. Also, it is considered to have no legitimate medical use by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Do you need more information about this schedule I drug? Call us today and our experts will assist you. We are here to help you and put you on a path to sobriety.
Immediate Effects of Pot
The effects of weed on the brain can change. Though the medical benefits of marijuana use can help deal with certain disorders, the adverse effects have been well documented.
The immediate effect of getting high is usually accompanied by a period of psychomotor function impairment. Psychomotor functions are bodily movements that involve hand-eye coordination and intentional thought. For example:
- Moving a computer mouse
- Playing the accordion
- Throwing a bone to your dog.
What THC does to the brain is a process that overwhelms pleasure receptors within it. It can affect the accuracy and attention to detail in these activities. It affects the brain’s areas that control:
- Memory formation
- Shifts in mood
- Rapid heartbeat
- Difficulty with problem-solving
- Altered sense of time
- Increased hunger
In rare cases, very high doses of pot can produce visual and auditory hallucinations.
Long-term Effect of Weed on the Brain
Some people wonder: what does THC do to the brain over time? The long-term effects of marijuana change over time and with age. Studies have shown that long-term weed use in youths negatively influences brain functions, such as learning and impulse control. Adult users who started smoking marijuana as teens saw a decrease in their IQ; however, adult users who started using after 18 years old did not. The effects of weed on the brain have also been shown to aggravate the natural, age-related loss of neurons. This loss affects the process of learning and affects memory structure.
When weed control starts to become a problem for long-term users, it can turn into a condition known as marijuana use disorder. This condition is twice as likely to show up in men than in women. It is also much more common in users who are younger than 45.
Symptoms of Marijuana Use Disorder Include:
- Difficulty with controlling cannabis use or quitting
- Using marijuana in inappropriate situations
- Discontinued interest in activities not involving marijuana use
- The trouble with family, social, or work relationships caused by cannabis use
- Craving marijuana and spending an abnormal amount of time on it
- Heightened tolerance to more significant amounts of weed
- The appearance of withdrawal symptoms when a user quits using cannabis
Users only need to show two of these symptoms to receive a diagnosis of marijuana use disorder. The cruelty of this disorder includes how many symptoms are present at the diagnosis time. The presence of two to three symptoms is a mild addiction; four to five is moderate, and six or more is severe. However, a marijuana use disorder is not as damaging as other drug addictions. However, it is always important to regularly think about the benefits and results of any drug or alcohol use.
Although the experience is rare, some studies have shown a link in long-term cannabis use and the appearance of severe psychotic episodes. Existing mental conditions may influence these users for marijuana use disorder.
Are you suffering from the long or short-term effects of pot? Call us today. We will gladly help anyone that is suffering from addiction. We do not care how long you have been addicted, what you are addicted to, or even who is addicted. The only thing that we care about is getting you started on a healthier lifestyle. Start your new life now, call us.
Marijuana’s Effects on Teens Brains
As more and more states continue to legalize weed for recreational purposes, a unique threat to teens and young adults has become apparent. Because young brains are still developing, then the structural changes that THC can make are especially damaging.
“The brain is still under construction,” says Staci Gruber, Ph.D., a neuroscientist. She is also the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core director and the Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery (MIND) Program at Harvard Medical School. The brain is sensitive to injury in teens because the frontal cortex develops during this age.
The THC receptors in developing brains are also affected by heavy marijuana use by teens. These receptors also influence emotional impulse, comprehension, and stress reactions. Cognitive tests are taken of cannabis users who began smoking weed before the age of 16 compared to those who started after. The earlier users made double the number of mistakes than the teens who started later. These young drug users are more likely to drop out of high school, end up on welfare, and experience joblessness.
Though other factors play into the possibility that cannabis will permanently affect a teen’s life, the link between poor life choices, and how marijuana affects the brain cannot be underestimated.
A Few Physical Effects
Contrary to popular belief, the harmful physical effects of marijuana use are severe. The smoke from weed can cause infection in the lungs. Many times, weed smokers experience the same breathing problems as people who smoke cigarettes. The heart rate is raised significantly after smoking weed. Which leads to a higher chance of heart attack.
Additionally, women who use cannabis during pregnancy show a higher risk for lower birth weights. Thus, increasing the likelihood of behavioral problems in their children. Lastly, long-term marijuana use has been linked to a cyclical condition known as Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome. Symptoms include:
- Intense dehydration
Medical intervention is sometimes required to treat Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome. Do you need help battling the physical side effects of weed? Call us today and we can get you the help that you need. Do not hesitate. Get the treatment right for you sooner rather than later.
Weed Addiction Treatment
So, the question of what does THC does to the brain is answered. But you are probably wondering about treatment. Many people believe a marijuana use disorder is less critical than an addiction to other drugs. However, pot addiction can still be very damaging. The Food and Drug Administration has no approved medication to treat marijuana use disorder. Because of this, more traditional forms of treatment are recommended for cannabis addiction.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Psychotherapy promotes self-control. This thought process is to pinpoint and prevent problematic behavior.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy
Intervention actions that aim to create quick, self-motivated change in behaviors and thinking.
Highly controlled corrective oversight that rewards positive efforts, but removes benefits for negative choices.
We understand that every addiction is different. We also understand that every individual is unique. Work with us and we will find you the treatment option that is best suited for your needs. Never feel judged or ashamed when talking to one of our professionals. Call today, and we will get you started on the road to recovery now.
Written By: Dani Horn