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Marijuana and the Brain – What Happens Exactly?

Marijuana and the Brain – What Happens Exactly?

States are lining up to consider the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana for medical use, which means the science of the drug is scrutinized. It is important for everyone to learn what we already know about the drug and how it specifically affects a person’s brain.

These facts will focus on delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC. This is one of the most active ingredients in the cannabis plant. THC affects a number of different body systems, with each user experiencing the drug in a personal manner.

Cannabinoid Receptors

When the drug is smoked, the THC moves through the lungs to the bloodstream. From here, it is picked up by the cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2. These are proteins which are long and rope-like, and they tie around cells in every part of the body. However, most of the effect is in the central nervous system, or CNS. Here, the THC is carried by the cannabinoid receptor 1. It remains for two to four hours, where it can inhibit memory, perception of time, and pain, and increase appetite.


Marijuana affects memory, according to a number of studies. It inhibits the person’s short-term memory and how those memories are formed. This may be due to a disruption of activity in the hippocampus, which is where memory is believed to be stored. The hippocampus contains a high number of cannabinoid receptors, and is often destroyed with marijuana use. Typically, memory issues are considered temporary, however, some heavy, lifelong users have presented with brain abnormalities later in life.


This drug will get the hypothalamus going as well. This area regulates the appetite in a person. Healthy users will simply gain weight through consistent use. Those who suffer from food issues find this effect to be indispensable. Canadian studies have shown that cancer patients, who do not want to eat after chemotherapy, found their appetites increased and their nausea alleviated through marijuana use.


Distortion of time is a frequently reported side effect of marijuana use. This is due to an altered blood flow to a section of the brain called the cerebellum, which is believed to be our “internal clock”. After using THC, researchers noted an increase in blood flow to this brain area. Every user did not have this effect, however, those who did noted a significant alteration to their sense of time.

If you ‘d like to talk more about what marijuana does to the brain, call Vancouver Home Health Care Agency today.
At Vancouver Home Health Care Agency, Caring and Compassion is our business.

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