Does Smoking Marijuana Kill Brain Cells? When to go to a Rehab in Scottsdale?
Today, marijuana is becoming more accessible, with dispensaries opening across the country and recreational use being legalized in many states. With these dispensaries and new rules, there is concern that more people will become addicted. As these concerns mount, we’re going look at whether smoking marijuana can kill brain cells and the impact marijuana edibles have on the body, and how rehab in Scottsdale can help with addiction.
What Type of Drug is Marijuana?
Marijuana is a mixture of dried flowers of Cannabis sativa.1 It’s often a greenish-gray color that is smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes, cigar wraps, or pipes. The main chemical in marijuana that is attributed to marijuana’s addictive effects is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is found in resin made by the leaves and buds primarily found in the female cannabis plant.1 It also contains more than 500 other chemicals, including compounds called cannabinoids that are chemically associated with THC.
Marijuana’s Effects on the Brain
When people smoke marijuana, THC and other chemicals go from the lungs into the bloodstream. This brings them quickly to the brain. The effects are almost instantaneous. Many people begin to feel:
- Heightened Sensory Perception
- Increased Appetite
- Altered Perception of Time
But not all people who smoke marijuana get instant feelings of euphoria and relaxation. Some people’s effects are highly adverse and include:
These effects are more common when someone takes too much marijuana or has some that have a higher potency than they thought. People who take marijuana in large doses may experience:
- Acute psychosis
- Loss of Personal identity
Any noticeable effects of marijuana can last anywhere from 1-3 hours. But THC may remain detectable in the body for days or weeks after use.2
Does Marijuana Kill Brain Cells?
The long-term effects of cannabis on brain cells are still being studied, and there are no definitive answers. Studies seem to be conflicting with some suggesting that regular marijuana use in adolescence is linked to reduced volume of specific parts of the brain that provide functions like memory, learning, and impulse control compared to people who never used marijuana. Then, some studies have not discovered any structural differences between those who use marijuana and those who do not.3
Several studies have also suggested that marijuana use can lead to functional impairment in cognitive abilities.3 But the degree of those impairments is unknown because it depends on when a person began using marijuana and for how long.
There has also been research into whether marijuana is linked to a decline in IQ when marijuana use starts in adolescence and continues into adulthood. While some studies have linked a lower IQ with marijuana use, others have not because of the many factors influencing the results.3 These include:
- Frequency of use
- Duration of use
- Family environment
- Genetics can also play a role in marijuana use, leading to a lower IQ.
Marijuana’s Impact on Motivation
Science points to a decrease in motivation due to marijuana use. This is linked to changes in dopaminergic production and the brain’s reward system.4 Since research in this area is still ongoing, it’s too soon to make a direct link between marijuana use and a decrease in motivation.
Marijuana Edibles and the Brain
Besides smoking marijuana, some people choose to consume it in food or beverages. It will take longer to feel the effects because the drug must first pass through the digestive system. When marijuana is consumed, less THC gets into the bloodstream.2 Because of the delayed effects, some people may consume more edible products than they intended to reach the desired effect.
Some people think using marijuana through edibles is healthier because smoke is not passing through their lungs. But the impact on the brain can still be felt because the drug is still entering the bloodstream, even if it takes longer to feel the effects.
Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug?
While some people may view marijuana use as not being as bad as using other drugs, research suggests that marijuana use can lead to the use of other dangerous substances and addictions.
Research from the National Epidemiological Study of Alcohol Use and Related Disorders found that adults who used marijuana were more likely to develop an alcohol disorder within three years than those who did not use marijuana.5 People who used marijuana and already had an alcohol use disorder saw their problems worse. Marijuana use has also been linked to other substance use disorders, including nicotine.5
Worried About Marijuana Killing Brain Cells? Get Help at a Rehab in Scottsdale
If you or a loved one needs help with a marijuana addiction, Desert Cove Recovery’s rehab center in Scottsdale is here to help. We offer customized addiction treatment plans to curb your substance abuse and get you on the road to recovery. Call us today or reach out online to get started.