Since the recreational use of marijuana became legal in the state of Colorado, one of the most frequently asked questions I get is “How does marijuana affect the brain?“.
To begin, it is important to understand how the brain processes THC. Typically, after inhaling cannabis smoke or vapor, the chemical properties in the smoke/vapor are dispersed throughout your body.
THC the psychoactive element in the vapor/smoke will immediately reach your brain and begin to work. This explains why a simple puff can get you high. Most users describe this commencing feeling as relaxing and mellow which produces a feeling of obscurity and light headedness. Afterwards, feelings of paranoia and panic might be felt by the user. The interaction of THC and your brain is the major cause of these feelings.
Now that you know how your brain processes THC, you need to know which parts of your brain are affected by THC to have a clear understanding of its effects. The major things to know are:
- Neurons-the cells that process information in the brain
- The path on which these cells communicate is the neurotransmitters
- Alien chemicals like THC can block actions of the neurotransmitters
Your brain’s functions depend on the effective interplay of the neurotransmitters whose major job it is to carry information between the cells.
THC or tetrahydrocannabinol will combine with the brain proteins referred to as the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. These proteins exist in large volumes in key areas of the brain where learning, pain perception, memory and reward processing occur.
So how will marijuana affect these areas of your brain? The truth is, you will need an experts opinion on this, however, what I can tell you is this, excessive use of cannabis during adolescents can generate lasting processes in your brain function especially in people who are at a greater risk of getting mental disorders.
Science has now proven that the continual use of cannabis especially during teen years can increase the risk of psychosis, decrease adulthood IQ amongst other problems.
Though it will take some time for marijuana to be accepted as an alternative treatment to chronic conditions, a lot is being done to educate the public on the positive aspect of this herb.
If you have any opinions or questions on how marijuana affects the brain, feel free to put them in the comments below and I will get back to you.