Neurological Effects of Marijuana

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Abstract

This paper is a study of the psychological aspect of marijuana. The paper attempts to determine the long term psychological and neurological effects of marijuana and if those effects will have a lasting negative impression on society. The paper looks at an fMRI test of neurologically activity of frequent marijuana smokers as they complete different tasks. It will also examine the neurological and psychological condition of teenagers, some who smoke pot and some who don’t, to show marijuana affects the developing brain. We also look at the relation between psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia and marijuana as a causal factor. We attempt to determine through these cases if marijuana is leaving a negative impression on our society. In conclusion we find that there are too many discrepancies and conflicts in the data available and it is too hard to say what marijuana will do to our society, however marijuana is not doing much positive for our society.

Marijuana: lasting psychological effects on society

Introduction
Background
The recreational use of marijuana has become an almost mainstream part of our society today, so mainstream in fact that 16.8% of Canadians older than 15 use it. In government, the debate to legalize marijuana has long gone back and forth yet never coming to a conclusion. But in this debate is the government really examining the psychological effects of the drug, or are they just concerned with the money aspect. In one study of the neuropsychological effects of marijuana it was concluded that “The low dose produced generalized impairment of all mental processes (concept formation, memory, tactile form discrimination and motor function).” The research question of this essay is “Are the short and long term neuropsychological effects of marijuana severe enough to leave lasting impressions on our society?” Purpose

The thesis of this essay is “the neuropsychological effects of marijuana are very apparent through experimental research and the deficits caused by marijuana could become visible in our society and create problems down the road.” The essay will proceed in the order of first examining a case of neuropsychological effects on heavy marijuana users, then we will examine some of these effects and they way they impact teenage marijuana users. It will also be examined how marijuana may be seen as a cause of psychotic disorders, and also the way marijuana affects aggression.

Argument
The use of marijuana affects the brain and our neuropsychological functions such as memory. But how memory is affected; is it long term or short term memory and is this a lasting effect or not. In a study performed by Kanayama, Rogowska, Pope , Gruber , and Yurgelun-Todd (2003), 12 heavy cannabis smokers, and a control group of 10 others were to completed a spatial working memory paradigm that included two tasks: a perception task and a short-delay working memory task while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging. The results showed that the recent cannabis users displayed greater and more widespread brain activation than normal subjects when attempting to perform the aforementioned task. This suggests that the recent cannabis users may experience some neuropsychological deficits and they compensate for these deficits by calling upon different regions of the brain to help out in completing the task. This study shows that for a heavy cannabis user, simple tasks require extra effort from different regions of the brain in order to accomplish said task. This experimental study was well conducted and provided significant findings regarding the neuropsychological functions of a heavy cannabis user. These findings show that the heavy cannabis users had to work harder to accomplish the task at hand, and even though they still managed to accomplish the task, the neurological deficits shown through this study could leave them crippled or handicapped later in life with continued use of the...
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