Professor Paula Brown
LAHC Health 011
October 16, 2013
Marijuana and the Brain
Decade after decade, scientists all over the world has been conducting research on marijuana and the brain. Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug used in the United States. It has been confirmed that the use of marijuana has a lasting effect on the human brain. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the main ingredient in marijuana that has the most effect on the brain causing symptoms such as personality disturbance, short-term memory loss, impairs emotions and damages learning capacity just to name a few. THC can also cause increased heart rate, gross motor disturbances and can lead to panic attacks. Studies have showed THC alters the way in which sensory information is interpreted. Such research has showed that THC impairs working memory by inducing a form of synaptic plasticity that weakens neuronal connections. There are two different types of synaptic plasticity. Long term potentiation strengthens the connections between neurons. Long term potentiation is believed to cause learning and memory damage. Long term depression has the opposite effect. It makes connections weaker by reducing efficacy of neurons. Further research shows how marijuana has harmful effects of the central nervous system and hinders the memory and movement of the brain. Not everyone who smokes marijuana has the same brain effects.
While under the influence of marijuana, one particular study of two college students who both smoked marijuana every other week showed short-term memory loss and impaired emotions effect. Student A’s memory was affected. Before she used marijuana, student A was watching television and was asked questions about commercials during a sitcom she was watching. She got four out of five answers correct. After student A smoked the marijuana, she was asked about the sitcoms main character wardrobe and could not remember after the sitcom went to another...