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How Marijuana Affects the Brain

How Marijuana
Affects the Brain

THC, a key ingredient in
marijuana, attaches to
cannabinoid receptors
throughout the body.
Several areas of the
brain have high
densities of these
receptors, which helps
explain the different
effects of the drug.

How the receptors work

Nerve cells communicate by
passing chemical messages
across contact points called
synapses.

Synapse

The most active ingredient in
maniuana, THC, attaches to
cannabinoid receptors and
modifies nerve actlon.

Synapse --- THC
Cannabinoid Receptor


Some areas with -
high concentratns
or cannabinod
receptors.

--->Corresponding effects of marijuana:


Cerebral Cortex

Plays a role in
memory,
thinking,
perceptual
awareness and
consciousness

--> Altered consciousness; perceptual distortions; memory lmpairment; occasional delusions and hallucinations


Hypothalamus

Governs
metabolic
processes such
as appetite

--> Increased appetite


Brain stem

Controls many
basic functions
including
arousal, the
vomiting reflex.
blood pressure
and heart rate

--> Nausea relief;
rapid heart rate;
reduced blood pressure;
drowsiness

Pain reductlon;
reduced spasticity;
reduced tremor

Also plays a
role In pain
sensation.
muscle tone and
movement

Hippocampus

Is key to
memory storage
and recall

--> Impairment in memory

Cerebelum

Governs coordination and muscle control

--> Reduced spasticity;
impaired coordination

Amygdala

Plays a role in
emotions

--> Anxiety and panic in some cases;
reduced anxiety and blocking of traumatic
memories in other cases; reduced
hostility



Estimated percentage of
people in a national
survey who used a
substance at least once
and became dependent


32% Tobacco
23% Heroin
17% Cocaine
15% Alcohol
11% Stimulants (other than cocaine)
9% Marijuana
9% Anxiolytic sedative hypnotic drugs
8% Analgesic drugs
5% Psychedelic drugs
4% Inhalant drugs

How Marijuana Affects the Brain

shared by maggie on Apr 18, 2011 in Health

How Marijuana Affects the Brain

shared by maggie on Apr 18, 2011 in Health

9K views

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1 comment

The Wall Street Journal has an infographic online showing the effects of Marijuana and how it compares to other substances. The information is a bit bland, but covers some stuff like the altered cons...
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