While many people believe that marijuana use is an innocent habit, there may be negative consequences for frequent users. Science has shown that the brains of marijuana users are different than those of non-users. When you smoke marijuana, you’re ingesting something called Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. The following reveals how this chemical interacts with the body and what type of effects it may produce.
What Does THC Do to the Brain In the Short-term?
After inhaling THC, you may find that you’re hungry and have trouble concentrating or focusing. This is a result of THC influencing certain receptors in the brain that control your memory and appetite. Generally, the effects of THC are harmless and may wear off after a few hours.
However, while THC is in your system, you may feel as though it’s difficult to walk or do anything other than sedentary activities. You may also have trouble understanding what’s going on around you. Due to its ability to increase the appetite, those who tend to eat less than they should may be prescribed medical marijuana to increase the desire for food.
What Does THC Do to the Brain In the Long-term?
Those who use marijuana may suffer from memory loss in addition to a loss of motivation and ambition. While science does acknowledge that chronic use may lead to chemical changes in the brain, it’s unclear if those changes are permanent. In other words, it’s not fully understood whether the effects of sustained marijuana use would subside or go away if an individual stopped using marijuana.
There Could Be Withdrawal Symptoms
If you’ve used marijuana for a long period of time, you could suffer from withdrawal symptoms upon stopping the drug. Symptoms could range from general anxiety to an inability to sleep without first smoking or otherwise ingesting marijuana. You could also find yourself to be overly tired or have a hard time functioning at work or school. These are all possible effects of the brain getting used to life without a substance to which it may have become dependent.
Marijuana Use Can Impact Your Social and Professional Life
Although the effects of marijuana aren’t fully understood, the impact that marijuana can have on your life is profound. As THC can stay in the system for days or weeks after being injected, you could risk losing your job if an employer conducts a drug test that turns up positive.
On a personal level, you could be taken into custody for DUI if a test shows traces of THC in your blood, even if you weren’t under the influence while driving. You could be kicked off of a sports team or denied entry into college if you’re using or have been caught using in the past.
What does THC do to the brain? For some, it could cause short- and long-term memory loss or an increased appetite. For others, it could cause the brain to become dependent on THC to function. To learn more about the possible impact of marijuana use, call the hotline at 800-447-9081.