Effects of Marijuana on the Brain

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Brianne Westlake
May 14, 2012
Effects of Marijuana on the Brain

Outline
I. Thesis – How does the usage of marijuana affect the brain and what causes the intoxication from the drug? What are the long-term and short-term effects from marijuana? II. Body
A. Emotions
a. Amygdala
i. Anxiety and panic
ii. Blocking of traumatic experiences
iii. Reduces hostility
b. Acute psychosis
iv. Hallucinations
v. Delusions
vi. Loss of personal identity
c. Psychoactivity
vii. Mood changes
viii. Impairing of thinking
ix. Altering of brain chemistry
d. Psychological dependency
x. Depression
xi. Nervousness
xii. Irritability

B. Memory
e. Hippocampus
xiii. THC
xiv. Ability to learn
f. Cerebral cortex
xv. Affects perceptual distortions
xvi. Occasional delusions
xvii. Recalling of recent events
g. Short term effects
xviii. Memory loss
xix. Hard to retain information
h. Long term effects
xx. Memory loss
xxi. Learning ability

C. Coordination
i. Cannabinoid receptors
xxii. Neurons in the brain
xxiii. Balance
xxiv. Movement
j. Cerebellum
xxv. Governs coordination
xxvi. Muscle control
xxvii. Impairing of coordination
k. Nervous system
xxviii. Branches
xxix. Cause of relaxation
l. Basal fangalia
xxx. Muscle movement
III. Conclusion
IV. Works Cited

Marijuana, a greenish-gray mixture of the dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the plant Cannabis sativa, is the most common and used illicit drug in the United States. (Research Reports: Marijuana Abuse) Marijuana was banned by U.S. federal government in 1937, but it is estimated that 14.8 million Americans use marijuana. (Kevin Bonsor) Although it is declining is use, it has retained its popularity throughout the decades because it causes people to feel high and feel a sense of relaxation as well as an escape to reality. Also called pot, grass, reefer, weed, herb, or Mary Jane, marijuana is smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes called joints, bongs, or blunts. Marijuana is used by a lot of people in the United States to help them feel relaxed. It is used by 75% of heavy drug users, and by 12.3% of the United States population overall, making the United States the third highest country to smoke marijuana. Over 40% of Americans have tried marijuana at least once. It is mostly used by adolescents ages 12-17 and young adults ages 18-25. (Research Reports: Marijuana Abuse)

Marijuana has such a strong effect on the brain because of the main active ingredient, THC, which is a cannabinoid. THC binds to and activates specific receptors that control memory, thought, concentration, time and depth, and coordinated movement. (How does marijuana affect the brain?) When marijuana is smoked, THC is carried from the bloodstream to the brain and other organs causing reactions that produce the immediate feeling of being high off of marijuana use. People enjoy this feeling which is why the use of marijuana is so high, but the effects on the brain from this ingredient may also have long lasting emotional effects when someone is addicted to the drug. THC affects the thoughts, memories, concentration and sensory perception and can have an unfavorable impact on mental abilities, preventing you from achieving what you want out of life. (Shaw, Jerry) The amygdala is the part of the brain located deep in the brain’s medial temporal lobe. It is a set of neurons that helps form the limbic system which is the part of the brain involved in emotion, motivation, and emotional association with memory. It plays a key role in emotions and is linked to fear responses and pleasure. (Amygdala) The limbic system...
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