The Negative Effects Marijuana Can Have On Your Brain Chemistry

Posted by admin on May 25, 2017

Marijuana may be an illegal drug in many states but it is also a very commonly used drug in the United States.  While other drugs are known for their addictive properties and harsh side effects, marijuana is commonly thought to be a “harmless” recreational drug.  Further, because it has been legalized in many states, access and use has grown significantly.  Though many see marijuana use as harmless and having no long-term side-effects, the research says otherwise.

Though many people have their first experience with marijuana as a teenager, studies are now showing that marijuana can have lasting effects on the brain when used by teenagers.  The American Psychological Association points out how dramatic and lasting marijuana’s impact can be on the adolescent brain which is still growing and forming, “Heavy marijuana use in adolescence or early adulthood has been associated with a dismal set of life outcomes including poor school performance, higher dropout rates, increased welfare dependence, greater unemployment and lower life satisfaction… The team found that persistent marijuana use was linked to a decline in IQ, even after the researchers controlled for educational differences. The most persistent users — those who reported using the drug in three or more waves of the study — experienced a drop in neuropsychological functioning equivalent to about six IQ points (PNAS, 2012). “That’s in the same realm as what you’d see with lead exposure,” says Weiss. ‘It’s not a trifle.’”  The study notes that brains into their mid-20s could experience lasting effects from marijuana use.

Further, the THC that is in marijuana slows the communication between receptors in the brain which essentially and can cause short-term memory loss.  These side-effects can dramatically impact an individual’s ability to function in day to day life, maintain responsibilities such as a job, and can dramatically impact relationships.  Many studies are beginning to show that heavy marijuana use can also lead to long-term memory impairment.  To write off marijuana use and the effects of THC as being harmless is irresponsible and reductive.  If you are struggling with a drug addiction or marijuana dependency, seek help from an experienced addiction counselor who understands what you are going through.  At Diebold Behavioral Counseling, you will be met with a listening ear and absolutely no judgement.  We will help you address behavior patterns that may be impacting your marijuana dependency and help you find the support that you need to overcome your dependency. You can take the steps to stop using marijuana and optimize your long-term brain health.

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