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Marijuana Effects on the Human Brain

the human brain
In the United States, marijuana currently stands as the nation's most frequently abused illegal drug. Cultivated from the cannabis sativa plant, this mixture of dried flowers and [1] stems effects the human brain by releasing the chemical known as THC. It is generally smoked in blunts, joints, pipes and bongs, but users can also mix it into food and tea for a similar effect. This article is overview of the marijuana effects on the human brain.


[2] When a user smokes marijuana, the THC chemical enters the lungs. Passing through the lungs, the THC enters the bloodstream, which carries the chemical to the human brain. In the human brain, the THC sets off a series of reactions in areas known as cannabinoid receptors. This reaction in the human brain is what causes the high attributed to marijuana.


The parts of the human brain that have the [3] highest concentration of cannabinoid receptors are the areas that affect movement coordination, sensory perception, time perception, concentration, memory and pleasure. [4] This is why some marijuana users have difficulty learning new tasks and recalling certain events after smoking, even ones that occurred recently.[5]  As marijuana acts upon the human brain, it can also cause impairment in concentration, a distortion of perceptions and even difficulty in thinking. [6] These effects on the human brain can last for days and even weeks after one's initial high wears off.


An individual smoking marijuana on a daily basis may be operating with less than the full intellect at all times.  [7] Frequent marijuana use has also been linked to maladies of the human brain such as schizophrenia, anxiety and depression. The earlier one begins using marijuana, the higher the chances that the individual will experience these maladies of the human brain. [8] Marijuana has also been cited as negatively affecting some users' work, school, family, recreational and social activities.[9]  Extremely high doses of marijuana can even result in an individual experiencing a severe psychotic reaction. Other effects of marijuana include bad breath and dry mouth due to the smoke. [10] There are other ways to use marijuana wihtout the bad breath and dry mouth, which include ingesting and the use of vaporizers.


Frequent marijuana use can sometimes lead individuals to become addicted to the drug. Even knowing how the drug negatively effects the human brain, many individuals feel compelled to seek the drug out and keep a steady supply available at all times, which they then abuse. Although only nine percent of marijuana users are thought to actually become addicted to the drug, this percentage grows with heavy smokers and those who began smoking at an early age.

When marijuana-addicted individuals try to quit the drug,[11]  the human brain may hit them with a number of withdrawal symptoms. [12] These can include a constant craving for marijuana, an increased level of anxiety, difficulty sleeping and irritability.[13]  Some users even experience a drastic decrease in appetite when giving up marijuana. [14] Fortunately, these symptoms in the human brain generally subside within a couple weeks of quitting the drug.

With its popularity amongst teens and adults, one should not forget the negative effects of marijuana upon the human brain.
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