Marijuana has effects on the brain short and long term.
When a person smokes marijuana, THC rapidly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream. Blood carries this chemical to the brain and other organs in the body. The body takes longer to absorb THC when the person eats food or drinks with him. In that case, the effects may start feeling between 30 minutes to an hour after eating.
THC acts on receptors specific brain cells that typically react to natural chemicals in the brain that resemble THC. These natural chemicals are part of the development and normal brain functioning.
Marijuana produces an excessive reaction in parts of the brain that have large amounts of these receptors. This reaction causes being “doped”. Other effects include:
- altered perceptions (for example, see brighter colors)
- have an altered perception of time
- changes in mood sense
- motor incoordination
- difficulty in thinking and problem solving
- Memory problems
Marijuana also affects brain development. When people start using marijuana during adolescence, the drug can reduce the mental faculties to think, remember and learn and affect how the brain builds certain connections needed to carry out these functions. The effects of marijuana on these functions can last long and may even be permanent.
For example, one study showed that people who started smoking marijuana constant or inveterate form during adolescence and with the disorder of cannabis, lost an average of eight points of IQ between 13 and 38 year old. Lost mental abilities are not fully restored in those who stopped smoking marijuana in adulthood. Those who started smoking marijuana in adulthood showed no significant decreases in IQ.
Increased levels of THC in marijuana
The amount of THC in marijuana has gradually increased in recent decades. 4 For someone new to marijuana use, this could mean being exposed to a higher level of THC and be at greater risk of having a harmful reaction. The highest levels of THC in marijuana could explain why the increase in visits to the emergency room involving the use of marijuana.
The popularity of edible products also increases the possibility of having a preliminary reaction. These take longer to digest and take longer to produce its effect. Therefore, people can consume more in order to feel the effects sooner, putting them at risk.
The dabbing has also become a practical fashion. More people are using marijuana extracts with higher doses of THC, which causes stronger effects.
Higher levels of THC may mean a higher risk of addiction if people frequently consume high doses.
What are other adverse effects of marijuana for health?
The use of marijuana can have a wide range of effects on physical and mental health.
Effects on physical health
Breathing problems. The marijuana smoke irritates the lungs, and frequent marijuana smokers may have the same respiratory problems experienced by smokers snuff. These problems include chronic cough and phlegm production, more frequent respiratory disease and an increased risk of lung infections. So far, researchers do not know if marijuana smokers have a higher risk of lung cancer.
Elevated heart rate. Marijuana increases heart rate up to 3 hours after smoking. This effect may increase the risk of a heart attack. The elderly or those with heart problems may have an even higher risk.
Problems with the baby’s development during and after pregnancy. The use of marijuana during pregnancy is associated with a higher risk of behavioral problems and problems with brain development of the baby. If a pregnant woman uses marijuana, the drug can affect the development of certain parts of the brain of the fetus.
Among the deficiencies that may be caused to the baby are having difficulty paying attention, problems with memory and the ability to solve problems. In addition, some research has found moderate amounts of THC in breast milk of nursing mothers. The effects this may have on the baby’s brain development are not yet known.
Effects on mental health
Long-term consumption of marijuana in some people associated with mental illnesses such as:
- hallucinations temporary-feelings and images that seem real but are not
- paranoia temporary-feel extreme distrust of others for no reason
- worsening of symptoms in people with schizophrenia (a severe mental disorder with symptoms such as hallucinations, paranoia and disorganized thinking)
The use of marijuana has also been linked to other problems of mental health, such as depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts among adolescents. However, research results vary.
How does marijuana affect the consumer’s life?
Compared with those who consume marijuana, those who frequently consume report the following:
- less satisfied with their lives
- mental health deficiency
- deficiency of physical health
- more problems in their relations
Consumers also reported poorer academic performance and less professional success. For example, marijuana use is linked to a higher risk of dropping out of high school and is also linked to more absences, accidents and injuries.