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Effects of Marijuana Use

Understanding Marijuana

Also known as: Weed, Pot, Grass, Reefer, Ganja, Mary Jane, Blunt, Joint, Roach, Nail

Know the Signs:

  • Eyes turn red.
  • Memory slips about things that just happened.
  • Behaving silly or giddy.
  • Attention span is diminished.
  • Coordination is impaired; clumsy.
  • Appetite is stimulated.

The Marijuana High

Marijuana is particularly harmful to the still developing brains of young people. It is connected to changes in adolescent brain development resulting in learning, memory problems and IQ loss.

The individual effects marijuana use depends on user expectations, as well as the particular distribution of neuro-receptors in the user's brain. People react differently to any drug of abuse based on brain chemistry more than anything else. Some people try marijuana and experience nothing, some get anxious and some feel a pleasant euphoria.

The effects of smoked marijuana can last from 1 to 3 hours.

Long-Term Effects of Marijuana Use

Marijuana use can impair learning, memory, perception and judgment. It can lead to dulled emotions and lack of enthusiasm. Other effects of marijuana use include:

Difficulty speaking, listening effectively, retaining knowledge, problem solving and forming new concepts.

  • Reduced alertness/concentration
  • Altered perceptions
  • Decrease in reaction time
  • Lower IQ for adolescents

Research has shown that marijuana's negative effects on attention, memory, and learning can last for days or weeks after the acute effects of the drug wear off. Consequently, someone who smokes marijuana daily may be functioning at a reduced intellectual level most or all of the time. Not surprisingly, evidence suggests that, compared with their nonsmoking peers, students who smoke marijuana tend to get lower grades and are more likely to drop out of high school.

Effects of Marijuana UseA meta-analysis of 48 relevant studies—one of the most thorough performed to date—found cannabis use to be associated consistently with reduced educational attainment (e.g., grades and chances of graduating). That said, marijuana users themselves report poor outcomes on a variety of life satisfaction and achievement measures.

One study compared current and former long-term heavy users of marijuana with a control group who reported smoking cannabis at least once in their lives but not more than 50 times. Despite similar education and income backgrounds, significant differences were found in educational attainment: fewer of the heavy users of cannabis completed college, and more had yearly household incomes of less than $30,000. When asked how marijuana affected their cognitive abilities, career achievements, social lives, and physical and mental health, the majority of heavy cannabis users reported the drug's negative effects on all of these measures. Source: NIH

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