Most people are now familiar with what marijuana is. The drug has become more and more popular and commercialized of late, particularly as more states move to fully legalize the drug. However, people should not underestimate the danger that marijuana potentially poses to them. Indeed, the drug has many short-term impacts on the human brain, and many of these impacts can cause both short-term and long-term problems. Here’s a look at five:
- Altered memory function. Many studies have shown that marijuana can make it much, much more difficult for intoxicated individuals to retain or recall information, and there may be evidence that this works both while someone is high and even after they sober up. According to Aion Health, “It’s important to consider the risks of prolonged marijuana use as some studies suggest it can lead to lower IQ, functional impairment in cognitive abilities, and more.” This is likely because of the activation of certain receptors in the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain responsible for governing memory. Unfortunately, there are many studies that prove this can be the case, and it is also apparent that marijuana can alter other functions of the brain, like cognition or decision-making.
- Disrupted sleep. Contrary to popular belief, it appears that marijuana actually makes it harder to sleep, not easier. This particularly seems to be the case among heavy users of marijuana, who have been found to suffer from relatively significant sleep disorders. Some research also shows that marijuana can have an impact on a specific type of sleep, known as N3 sleep. This type of sleep is the deepest stage of sleep. As such, if N3 sleep is truly disrupted among marijuana users, this could have very serious physical, emotional, and cognitive impacts.
- Increase appetite. Most people are familiar with the concept of “the munchies,” or the idea that someone who is intoxicated by marijuana gets very, very hungry. This isn’t just a made-up story – it’s based on science. When someone is high, marijuana releases certain hormones in the brain that trigger a hunger response. However, this hunger response does not also increase your metabolism, and that’s why many marijuana users also gain weight.
- Increased heart rate. Marijuana is supposed to be the “mellow” drug that can help you be more relaxed. While there is some evidence that marijuana may be able to reduce your anxiety, it is also true that marijuana increases your heart rate – in some cases, by as much as 50 beats per minute. This isn’t healthy, and some studies have also found that marijuana use may increase a user’s risk of suffering a heart attack.
- Loss of coordination. If you’ve ever been around someone who is high on marijuana, you’ve probably seen their loss of coordination and a general sense of having issues walking and talking. This is because marijuana interferes with the way that signals are transmitted in your brain. As a result, you can lose coordination, reaction time, spatial awareness, and more.
Marijuana addiction is real, but there is good news: This disease is imminently treatable. With the right provider and a loving support network, anyone can overcome their addictions and live a good and healthy life.