The majority of people think that marijuana is not that harmful or addictive. However, that is not true. 

The marijuana today is not the same as marijuana from the 1980s or 1960s. Tests on confiscated marijuana show a rise in the potency of the THC from 3.8% in the 1990s to 12.2% in 2014.

Those tests do not tell whether the greater number of ER visits due to marijuana is due to the higher THC or if people use it differently or use less of it with the higher potency. 

What are the effects of marijuana on the brain?

Studies on rats show that there is memory deficiency from marijuana use because THC changes how the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for memory construction, manages information. 

As we age, we lose neurons in the hippocampus; this lowers our ability to absorb new material. Chronic THC exposure may hasten age-related loss of hippocampal neurons. In one study, rats that were exposed to THC every day for 8 months, showed a level of nerve cell loss at 11 to 12 months of age that unexposed animals twice their age had. 

When smoked heavily by humans, marijuana can have the following symptoms:

  •     Unclear opinions and disposition
  •     Diminished coordination
  •     Difficulty with reasoning and problem solving
  •     Interrupted education and difficulty recalling memories
  •     Lower appetite
  •     Paranoia

Marijuana abuse has also been associated with other mental health problems, such as:

  • Unhappiness 
  • Nervousness 
  • Personality disturbances
  • Suicidal thoughts (among teen-agers)
  • Absence enthusiasm to participate in rewarding activities

Effects of Marijuana on the body

What are the effects of long term use of marijuana on the body? Marijuana use has a range of health issues. Those include:

  • respiratory infections and irritation
  • continual cough 
  • impairment to the immune system
  • loss of brain cells
  • harm to the central nervous system
  • fertility problems
  • increased heart rate
  • high blood pressure

These risks become greater with continued heavy use and age. 

Marijuana addiction

Contrary to popular belief, marijuana is an addictive substance. The DEA has marijuana as a class l drug. Part of the issue with marijuana abuse and addiction is because over time the body builds up a tolerance and needs more of it to reach the same high. 

What are the signs of addiction to marijuana? The following are signs or symptoms of marijuana abuse:

  •     Inaccurate perceptions
  •     Reduced coordination
  •     Trouble in thinking and problem solving
  •     Ongoing issues with learning and memory
  •     Bloodshot eyes
  •     Continuous, mucus-filled cough
  •     Fast heartbeat
  •     Hunger
  •     Dry mouth
  •     Nervousness, paranoia, or fear
  •     Poor memory
  •     Poor coordination
  •     Slow reaction time
  •     Loss of control

If you or a loved one is addicted to marijuana and are ready to stop abusing it, call 449 Recovery at (855) 435-7449 to find out about our recovery programs. At 449 Recovery, we believe that recovery is best achieved in an environment that encourages it. We will provide all the tools you need to go through recovery and start a life that is free of substance abuse.