Marijuana can be consumed through eating, drinking, smoking, or inhaling. Products that are eaten or drunk are first broken down in the stomach and then absorbed into the bloodstream before reaching the brain. Smoked or vaped products go into the lungs, then into the bloodstream, and finally into the brain. All cannabis products cause short-term and long-term effects on the brain, which can adversely impact its health. 

Understanding THC and CBD in marijuana

To date, researchers have discovered more than 140 chemicals from the marijuana plant. The main chemicals with significant benefits to the body so far are THC and CBD. THC is the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana. Mainly, the products you buy from a shop contain 15% to 30% THC. A psychoactive chemical is any type of substance that affects the brain and triggers changes in:

  • Feelings
  • Mood 
  • Behavior
  • Thoughts
  • Awareness

The THC chemical causes you to feel high, strong, and sometimes hyperactive. CBD does not cause you to feel too high and it mainly depends on the THC level. It is mainly used as a drug for managing various health conditions. The main types of CBD in the market are full-Spectrum, broad-Spectrum, and CBD Isolate. 

How marijuana affects the brain

A medical writer working for HighTHC Shop says that when it reaches the brain, marijuana affects its function in different ways. Its impact depends on the main chemical contained in the product you consume. If the main chemical was CBD, the effects would be different from THC. 

CBD is non-intoxicating and affects neurons which interrupts how their receptors work in the brain. Sometimes it can help increase or reduce hormone production in the body. Its effect on receptors provides several benefits to the brain and the body. It helps reduce disorders such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Autism
  • Psychosis and seizures 
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Depression
  • Migraines
  • Protects brains cells from harm 
The Science of Cannabis: How Marijuana Affects Brain Health

The main effect of THC on the brain is the high effect that many users seek to get. The brain’s chemical Anandamide has a similar structure to the drug THC. Due to this, the brain recognizes the chemical and allows it to change the normal functioning of the brain. The THC structure acts as a neurotransmitter that sends command messages to the entire nervous system. Their messages affect the way the brain functions in the areas that control pleasure, focus, memory, movement, and thinking. 

Users get several other short-term effects which may include effects on movement, perception, attention, and memory. Some users get trouble with body coordination and thinking. The short time effects clear within 24 hours, although it can take longer for some users. 

The more serious marijuana effects on brain health take time to manifest, but their impact takes longer to clear. Users need to understand their health conditions before they start using marijuana. Researchers have published a wide range of effects of marijuana on the brain. 


Psychosis is a mental condition where users lose touch with the real world. It may include paranoia and hallucinations. The disorder mainly develops due to the use of marijuana for a prolonged time. Overdosing often can trigger the condition faster. 

Impact on the brain size

Prolonged use of marijuana could alter a user’s brain size. Consistent users might record reduced gray matter in their brains. Research shows the most affected are people who use the products about three or four times daily for at least four years and above. 

Problems in attention, memory, and behavior

Problems such as attention, memory, and behavior are mainly considered short-term. Continued use, especially the wrong doses, could advance the problems to the long term. Pregnant women who use marijuana often could affect the brain development of their unborn children. They might have problems with attention, behavior, and problem-solving. 

Impaired cognitive abilities

Prolonged use of marijuana could lead to reduced cognitive abilities. The level of the effect depends on the age of the user and the amount they use daily. Younger users are more likely to suffer from cognitive impairment than older users.


Marijuana causes short-term and long-term effects on the brain. Users may feel high and relaxed, and it can help reduce pain. Prolonged use could cause brain damage which can lead to poor memory, cognition, and shrinking of the brain. 

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