Healing Balance – Studies on the Long-term Negative Effects of Marijuana on the Adult Brain

Marijuana plant with words "Learn About Marijuana Risks"

Healing Balance


  1. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/what-are-marijuanas-long-term-effects-brain#:~:text=As%20people%20age%2C%20they%20lose,related%20loss%20of%20hippocampal%20neurons.

“As people age, they lose neurons in the hippocampus, which decreases their ability to learn new information. Chronic THC exposure may hasten age-related loss of hippocampal neurons.”  

“Breathing problems. Marijuana smoke irritates the lungs, and people who smoke marijuana frequently can have the same breathing problems as those who smoke tobacco. These problems include daily cough and phlegm, more frequent lung illness, and a higher risk of lung infections.” “Marijuana raises heart rate for up to 3 hours after smoking. This effect may increase the chance of heart attack. “ “ Regular, long-term marijuana use can lead to some people to develop Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome. This causes users to experience regular cycles of severe nausea, vomiting, and dehydration, sometimes requiring emergency medical attention.1” “Compared to those who don’t use marijuana, those who frequently use large amounts report the following:

  • lower life satisfaction
  • poorer mental health
  • poorer physical health
  • more relationship problems

People also report less academic and career success. For example, marijuana use is linked to a higher likelihood of dropping out of school.18 It’s also linked to more job absences, accidents, and injuries.19”   “Marijuana use can lead to the development of a substance use disorder, a medical illness in which the person is unable to stop using even though it’s causing health and social problems in their life. Severe substance use disorders are also known as addiction. Research suggests that between 9 and 30 percent of those who use marijuana may develop some degree of marijuana use disorder.25”  

  “Multiple studies have linked marijuana use with a higher risk of psychosis, which is a medical term that applies to symptoms that involve losing touch with the real world, such as hallucinations or paranoia. For example, in an analysis published in 2016 in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin, researchers looked at previous studies of about 67,000 people. They found that people in the study who used the most marijuana were more likely to be diagnosed with a psychotic mental-health condition, such as schizophrenia, than people who had never used marijuana. A review published in April 2016 in the journal Biological Psychiatry also found a link between cannabis use and an increased risk of psychosis. “Overall, evidence from epidemiologic studies provides strong enough evidence to warrant a public health message that cannabis use can increase the risk of psychotic disorders,” the authors wrote in the review.”   “Using marijuana for many years may be linked to changes in brain size, research has suggested. In a study published in November 2014 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers looked at 48 adults who used the drug at least three times a day, for an average of eight or nine years, and 62 people who didn’t use marijuana. It turned out that the people who had been smoking pot daily for at least four years had a smaller volume of gray matter in a brain region called the orbitofrontal cortex, which previous research had linked to addiction”   “THC —marijuana’s main psychoactive compound —may increase the level of “neural noise,“or random neural activity in the brain, research suggests. In a 2015 study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, researchers measured the levels of this random neural activity in 24 people under two conditions: after they had been given pure THC, and after they had been given a placebo. They found that the people showed greater levels of neural noise after they received the THC, compared with their levels after they took the placebo. [11 Surprising Facts About Placebos] “At doses roughly equivalent to half or a single joint, [THC] produced psychosis-like effects and increased neural noise in humans,” senior study author Dr. Deepak Cyril D’Souza, a professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, said in a statement. The findings suggest that psychosis-like symptoms that people may experience after smoking weed may be related to this neural noise, the researchers said.”

“The research team studied 48 adult marijuana users and 62 gender- and age-matched non-users, accounting for potential biases such as gender, age and ethnicity. The authors also controlled for tobacco and alcohol use. On average, the marijuana users who participated in the study consumed the drug three times per day. Cognitive tests show that chronic marijuana users had lower IQ” “Eventually, however, the structural connectivity or ‘wiring’ of the brain starts degrading with prolonged marijuana use.”  

“Despite some contentious discussions regarding the addictiveness of marijuana, the evidence clearly indicates that long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction. Indeed, approximately 9% of those who experiment.” “Regular marijuana use is associated with an increased risk of anxiety and depression,23nt with marijuana will become addicted.” “Both immediate exposure and long-term exposure to marijuana impair driving ability; marijuana is the illicit drug most frequently reported in connection with impaired driving and accidents, including fatal accidents.35 “ “Marijuana smoking is also associated with inflammation of the large airways, increased airway resistance, and lung hyperinflation, associations that are consistent with the fact that regular marijuana smokers are more likely to report symptoms of chronic bronchitis than are nonsmokers4”“”Marijuana use has also been associated with vascular conditions that increase the risks of myocardial infarction, stroke, and transient ischemic attacks during marijuana intoxication.45 The actual mechanisms underlying the effects of marijuana on the cardiovascular and cerebrovascular systems are complex and not fully understood. However, the direct effects of cannabinoids on various target receptors (i.e., CB1 receptors in arterial blood vessels) and the indirect effects on vasoactive compounds46 may help explain the detrimental effects of marijuana on vascular resistance and coronary microcirculation.47 “The THC content, or potency, of marijuana, as detected in confiscated samples, has been steadily increasing from about 3% in the 1980s to 12% in 201250 (Fig. 1A). This increase in THC content raises concerns that the consequences of marijuana use may be worse now than in the past and may account for the significant increases in emergency department visits by persons reporting marijuana use51 (Fig. 1B) and the increases in fatal motor-vehicle accidents.35 This increase in THC potency over time also raises questions about the current relevance of the findings in older studies on the effects of marijuana use, especially studies that assessed long-term outcomes.” “Similarly, more research is needed to understand the potential effects of marijuana use on age-related cognitive decline in general and on memory impairment in particular.” “As policy shifts toward legalization of marijuana, it is reasonable and probably prudent to hypothesize that its use will increase and that, by extension, so will the number of persons for whom there will be negative health consequences.” “Another important aspect in the discussions around cannabis is the fact that in today’s cannabis and marijuana preparations the THC/CBD ratio is shifted to significantly higher THC content. Thus, studies from the seventies or eighties of the last century cannot be uncritically transferred to the actual situation, since at that time the THC content was much lower.”  

Possibly Legitimate uses:

  1. Glaucoma
  2. Nausea
  3. Aids-associate anorexia
  4. Chronic pain
  5. Inflammation
  6. Multiple Sclerosis
  7. Epilepsy

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