Marijuana Short and Long Term Effects on the Brain

Topics: Limbic system, Emotion, Addiction Pages: 6 (2064 words) Published: December 2, 2001

Millions are abusing marijuana every day. In fact, 1 out of 7 high school students smoke marijuana more than once a day. Marijuana is taken very lightly and is the most highly used illegal drug. For this reason, society should know its short and long term effects on the brain. Marijuana can effect these two areas emotionally or physically. Also in some cases physical damages causes the emotional response. Although most public information on drugs are funded by anti-drug organizations, hopefully we will still learn these true facts of marijuana in spite of that.

The brain is the most complicated part of the human body. I will begin explaining certain parts and their functions. In doing this to I hope to give a better understand of our brain while implicating the possibilities of chemical induced complications "The brain with its 15 billion neurons and nerve cells operates using chemical and electrical messages: (Swanson, 1975).1 This is how we perceive our senses. Differences in the way our brain translates these messages can impair perceptions. Hallucinogens prevent the brain from receiving all of these messages in order. All of the information that we receive is through millions of transactions of neurons, like a computer, marijuana alters these transactions . After smoking, or consuming marijuana, it is distributed in the brain. The concentration of marijuana in the brain may be governed by an active transport process in the choroid plexus network of blood vessels in the brain which regulates intraventricular pressure by absorption and secretion of cerebro spinal fluid. one scientific experiment it gave an example of how the distribution of marijuana in the central nervous system could effect man. At a high dose of 30 mg./kg. marked sedation and pronounced motor incoordination peaked at the one hour interval subsiding in 8 hours when over reaction occurred to external stimuli; man reveals incapacitation of cognitive and motor function. High concentrations of marijuana are usually found in the following parts of the brain: the frontal cortex (the general association area), and hippocampus (short term memory and oreintation). As a result, perception of time, mood and general cordination is impaired. It is apparent that marijuana intoxication effects the neurological functions and usually disappears in 24 hours, but can become a permanent malfunction.THC effects the limbic system which is vital to some every day functions. The brain is made up of 3 basic cerebral types differing in structure, chemistry and organization (MacLean, 1970). These are: 1) reptilian or brain stem responsible for instinctive (survival) behavior (and regulator of vital functions of the body) 2) old mammalian (paleocortex) or limbic brain surrounding the brain stem (like a lap or limbus) having an important role in emotional behavior and motivation (contains opiate receptors) 3) new mammailian (neo cortex) brain (thinking cap) with the capacity for symbolic (written and spoken language). The 3 subdivisions of the limbic cortical system or ring are linked by 3 pathways to the brain stem. The lower part (hippocampusi memory information) of the ring connected with the amygdala insures self-presentation (survival). The upper part is connected to the septum which is the area for pleasure. These 2 are connected to the olfactory which deals with sense. In addition, there is a third passageway dealing with sexual behaviors and visual activities. Any limbic dysfunction can result in emotional and mood disturbences alienation distortions of perceptions and paranoid states. THC can reduce the blood flow to the hippocampus, which earlier I introduced as the controller of short term memory and orientation.

To make a simple conclusion to all of this confusing data, marijuana results in chemical damage effecting emotional, motivational and hormonal disturbances. After...
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