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How Marijuana Effects Your Body And Brain


Marijuana contains THC which when it enters the brain gives the user a high that stimulates the brain to release dopamine. An increase in dopamine is largely the reason why users feel a sense of euphoria after using marijuana. While marijuana may give users a high for a short amount of time, there are other consequences of both short-term and long-term use that should be considered.

Marijuana Abuse Consequences

  • Consequences present during use of marijuana:
    • Impairs judgment as well as attention and various other cognitive functions
    • Increases user’s heart rate
    • Risk of psychotic behaviors
    • Effects short term memory
  • Consequences that last after drug use but may not be permanent:
    • Impairs sleep
    • Effects learning and memory
  • Long term effects of chronic marijuana abuse
    • Long term use can lead to addiction
    • For certain individuals the risk of schizophrenia can increase
    • Chronic cough and bronchitis can develop after prolonged drug use
    • Long term marijuana use can lead to increased risks of depression and anxiety

Marijuana Use May Cause Cancer

When people think about smoking marijuana they often do not think about the cancer risks that are involved. Marijuana has the potential to cause cancer because of its harmful ingredients including carcinogens. In fact, marijuana contains up to 70% more carcinogens and other irritants than tobacco. Marijuana users also typically inhale more deeply than tobacco smokers, which expose the lungs to carcinogenic smoke for longer periods of time.

Marijuana’s Effects On Heart Rate

After an individual inhale’s marijuana, the heart rate speeds up significantly, blood vessels within the eyes expand and bronchial passages become enlarged. The heart rate may increase by between 20-50 beats per minute or even double in some cases. Studies have shown that using marijuana in conjunction with other drugs can amplify the drug’s effect on the heart.

Not Clear If Users Can Recover From Long Term Effects Of Marijuana Use

The question of whether after stopping the use of marijuana individuals will regain some of their lost cognitive abilities is still largely unknown. Some studies seem to show individuals regaining these skills, while other studies show a long term deterioration of cognitive abilities even after discontinuing marijuana use.

Marijuana Often A Gateway Drug

At MDS Drug Detox we have seen a number of patients who started using marijuana and then transitioned into harder drugs such as prescription opiates or even heroin. If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction of any kind feel free to give the professionals at MDS Drug Detox a call today at (888) 637-6968.

MDS Admin
July 24, 2015
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