How Does Long Term Marijuana Use Affect the Brain?

Marijuana is a prevalent drug that can be easily found in many towns. Because many people are introduced to this type of drug as a teenager, it may seem harmless. Marijuana is frequently more potent than it was in previous generations and can potentially cause long-term damage.

Is All Marijuana The Same?

Marijuana has different “strains” that can include more potent versions of itself. Regardless of the type of marijuana, however, there are two basic components that are always the same.

  • CBD
  • THC

CBD is a psychoactive cannabinoid, but it does not produce a “high” sensation. There is little, if any, euphoria attached to this property. CBD may ease migraines or anxiety, but it will not create a dizzy, mind-altering, state.

THC is the main psychoactive property in cannabis. Regardless of which strain of marijuana is used, THC will create a mind-altering experience. THC can create giddiness, paranoia, creativity, and depression. When used long-term, marijuana can have a negative impact on the way the brain processes information.

How Does Marijuana Affect The Brain?

The short-term effects of marijuana can produce a high that can feel euphoric. The long-term effects can cause altered brain development.

Regardless if marijuana is smoked or ingested, brain regions can be disrupted from an early age. Consistent marijuana use can increase rates of respiratory infections as well as the likelihood of developing schizophrenia for those who are predisposed. Childhood development during pregnancy can also be negatively impacted.

Marijuana use for people under the age of 25 is particularly harmful. Since the brain is still developing, this is a crucial age for brain health. Attention and memory deficits can be related to structural brain changes caused by habitual marijuana use.

In addition to the structural brain changes that can take place after smoking marijuana, behavioral differences can be drastic. Marijuana consumption over time can lead to a lack of motivation and interpersonal issues. Since many people can struggle with depression after long-term marijuana use, energy levels and optimism levels can suffer too. Maintaining relationships with those who do not smoke marijuana or who have a more active lifestyle can dwindle;

Anxiety and paranoia can also occur with long-term marijuana use. These two emotional states, while similar, are not the same. Anxiety can be felt as an overall sense of doom or low-level threat. Individuals can experience social anxiety or generalized anxiety and may need medication

Paranoia is more severe. This can feel intense and long-lasting. Individuals experiencing bouts of paranoia or pro-longed paranoia may feel they are being watched or that people are out to harm them. Paranoia may require stronger medication with more side effects than certain anxiety medications.

Physical Conditions

The long-term effects of marijuana use are not restricted to the brain. Respiratory issues are common among those who smoke.

Smoking marijuana can cause major health problems that are similar to those who smoke tobacco products. When smoke causes inflammation and irritation, the airways are much more likely to become blocked over time.

Smoking marijuana can cause lung disorders. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease has been linked to smoking and can be life-threatening. Lung cancer and trouble breathing are serious medical conditions that may not be apparent upon starting marijuana use. The long-term ramifications can be deadly.

Marijuana and Dependence

Chronic marijuana users may experience emotional dependence from marijuana. Contrary to popular belief, they may also feel physical side effects as well.

The first week or two after discontinuing marijuana, many people feel irritable and may have significant appetite changes. Withdrawing from friends and family can be a sign of emotional dependence.

Mood and behavior may become vastly different. An increase in depression and anxiety is frequently experienced directly after marijuana discontinuation. A lack of interest in hobbies that used to be fun often occurs during this stage. Withdrawal symptoms, however, are short-term.

Marijuana use can become a lifestyle. While it may start out as something that\’s done on the weekend, marijuana can be a coping mechanism or just something to do while bored. Quitting marijuana can be difficult if friends or family members also use. Since marijuana is not usually referred to as a dangerous or addictive drug, it can feel difficult to manage cravings and a new social frontier. Without the proper support, many people experiencing marijuana dependence will relapse.


Marijuana is not a harmless drug. While it may not be as physically addictive as substances like cocaine, it can create long-lasting effects. Marijuana can impact motivation, mental health, and physical health. For more information on the long-term consequences of using marijuana, please give us a call at: 833-610-1174.

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