Long term effects on the brain of using cannabis

Long term effects on the brain of using cannabis

Cannabis is one of the most highly abused recreational drugs, with more and more cases showing up in residential treatment centers.

Marijuana use can lead not only to long term cognitive impairment, but also to health complications affecting mainly the heart and lungs as well as the brain. Research is limited, but strongly links abusive marijuana use to health problems that can last for years beyond cessation if consumption.

In a 2015 study evaluating teens that smoked cannabis daily for at least three years found that they had an abnormally large hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls long-term memory. Rather than improve memory, this enlargement caused them to experience poor memory through adulthood. There are also reports of people who quit using marijuana after habitual use since adolescence and their brain function did not fully repair. This is in contrast to people who began using marijuana as adults, after their brains were fully developed did not have this long-term memory decline.

There is also a link between using marijuana and mental health issues. Unfortunately, some people inappropriately use marijuana to self-medicate for mental health issues. Multiple studies conclude that using cannabis increases the risk for psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression, and worsening symptoms of schizophrenia.

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