Marijuana's effect on brain

Drugs are part of our culture and people who get hooked to this dangerous vice are victims of our culture. The whimsical policies of government, ambiguous views of scientific community, and lure to make a quick buck is the reason why a great majority of people do not have a definite view on this matter. We do not categorically say no to drugs and marijuana remains a harm less weed which has certain medicinal properties, and is good if used occasionally.

What is Marijuana

Marijuana is a psychoactive drug which has the properties of a wide array of drugs. It acts as a stimulant, depressant, and hallucinogenic drug. It improves the mood, makes a person feel calm and relaxed and sometime gives out of body experiences.

How Smoking Marijuana Effects the Brain

A person usually starts smoking for recreation. It gives him pleasure and a sense of calm he has never experienced before, but at the same time it also creates new neural pathways in the brain which lead to the pleasure center or reward circuitry, and starts regulating the 'craving' neurotransmitter that is dopamine.

The pleasurable feeling is not because of dopamine, but because of other natural opioids like endorphin and morphine which brain produces while smoking. The effect of smoking on brain takes place in a slow and steady manner. The person always feels that he is in control. But actually a lot is happening inside his brain. The person realizes the change when he starts craving for it. The craving for smoke is actually due to increased level of dopamine in the brain which starts building right from the time person had his last smoke.

In fact it’s the brain telling the body that it needs marijuana to artificially produce the natural happiness chemicals in brain. The soothing effect of drug acts as a positive reinforcement, which means that your brain will be conditioned to think that weed is good because it makes you feel good.

Once you have grown habitual to smoke, your body and mind will develop strong dependency on the drug. Now, if you try to stop or regulate the dosage, you will suffer from withdrawal symptoms like depression, anxiety, and morbid thoughts. The ill effect of going cold turkey will act as a negative reinforcement, which means that weed is good because it keeps your mood balanced and prevents all the bad effects of going without smoke. At this stage a person becomes a complete addict.

As every person is different, some people get addicted very quickly, while some take time. But as whole more frequently you smoke, more quickly you will become habitual to marijuana.

Long term effect of Smoking Marijuana

In long run, it affects the short term memory and cognitive functions( ability to see and understand things clearly) of brain. It also acts as a gateway drug( motivates you to try other drugs) Where there is a good chance of addict moving on to hard core drugs like heroin, cocaine or LSD. Dependency on hard core drugs develops very fast and is very strong. In fact the fate of addict is sealed once he gets hooked to these drugs.

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You have to really want to quit and be ready. If that is the case, then this book will serve as a nice positive reinforcement tool...


Why it is so hard to quit smoking

The habit of smoking marijuana is very difficult to give up. First person always tries to rationalize his behavior by give all sorts of reason, like everyone has to die any way so why give up something that makes me feel better, even if it kills, or siting scientific researchs which say that marijuana is harmless and is good for certain people. It is same as a medicine. This way of thinking prevents a person from seeking help.

Other obvious reason is that need for smoke is biological more than psychological. We can control our thoughts but we can not control our bodily needs. Thus it becomes very difficult to give up this habit. .

How to quit smoking

If you realize that your bad habit is ruining your life then seek professional help. Meet a good psychiatrist and also a psychotherapist. Do not expect a magical pill that would cure you in seconds. There is no such medicine. All the brands available on major pharmaceutical shops which promise instant relief are a hoax and nothing more than a placebo.


Hypnosis is a part of modern psychotherapy. It is more popular because of its high success rate.

In 2003, an analysis of the efficacy of hypnotherapy was published by two researchers from the University of Konstanz in Germany, Flammer and Bongartz. The study examined data on the efficacy of hypnotherapy. These showed that on average hypnotherapy achieved at least 64% success compared to 37% improvement among untreated people.

Hypnosis is more successful because of its powerful impact. The logic behind hypnotherapy is to implant positive suggestions in the subconscious mind of an addict. The suggestions given to the mind are very powerful and they become permanent and fixed part the addict's mind. After hypnosis sessions, the therapist continues with traditional methods reinforcing the suggestion and shaping the behavior of the addict. It takes several sessions before the addict stops craving for smoke and starts avoiding it. The neural circuits formed due to prolonged smoking start disintegrating and finally the addict is able to give up smoking.

How to find a good Hypnotherapist

The therapist should be a registered practitioner and should have good experience. The competency of the therapist can be judged by asking other patients and the results they have achieved. You have to take the cost factor also into account. Market is full of self proclaimed hypnotherapist, some are ready to do online sessions, some are selling audio CDs, and some are selling dream machines. Do not buy any of these and even if it cost more opt for a professional, experienced hypnotherapist.


In the end take help of your family members and be determined to get rid of this bad habit. Seek professional help and quit smoking forever.

Marijuana's effect on the brain by Yogendra Rawat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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Comments 19 comments

lafamillia profile image

lafamillia 5 years ago from Soutcentral Europe

Hmmm, this is really interesting. I've heard and been there - on hypnosis to get off of my addiction (past). But, it just didn't work.. .:D Sadly... But, this is interesting hub indeed! Keep the good work up, and check my new hubs! There are some great ones - FOR REAL!

rorshak sobchak 5 years ago

It makes no sense to me how tobacco is still legal. It is clearly a dangerous drug. Great write up!

Bitingtruths profile image

Bitingtruths 5 years ago from Mumbai Author

Thanks rorshak sobchak for your comments,

If my hub persuades even a single person, teenager or adult, from not falling into this dangerous habit, then I would feel that I have done a good job indeed.

If you think the hub is lacking somewhere in useful information or insight then please let me know.

I would love to hear more from you, perhaps you can help me understand the problem better.

Jonathan T Cook profile image

Jonathan T Cook 5 years ago from West Brookfield, Ma

Actually, the latest research on marijuana's effects on the brain show long term benefit. There are specific cannabinoid receptors in our brains and when cannabinoids open that lock alzheimers and other degenerative brain diseases are actually prevented.

What you've said about dopamine relates to cocaine and heroine and has been debunked relating to mj. The myth goes back to the reefer madness stage of anti marijuana proaganda.

Not only that, but legalizing marijuana for 21 and over would make it more difficult for kids to get it and be the most effective economic policy possible since industrial hemp plus marijuana would account for trillions in economic benefits. See why here

Bitingtruths profile image

Bitingtruths 5 years ago from Mumbai Author


Thanks for your comment. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which activates the craving for the drug. It is actually the "got to have it" neurochemical. It does not makes one happy or sad in itself, but the other neurochemicals like endorphine or prolactin, that is brains natural opiod which creates the feeling of happiness or sadness.

Any drug that causes addiction affacts dopamine level. Without increase in dopamine a strong craving for the drug would not be created.

Yes, I agree that it has certain medicinal properties and helps certain patients suffering from certain disease. Thus it should be prescribed by doctors to the patients in a proper manner.

Weed should not be popularized as a recreational drug because in the end it is a dangerous drug.

I hope you will understand what I am trying to tell.

Thanks for your additional information. I will look into it.

Jonathan T Cook profile image

Jonathan T Cook 5 years ago from West Brookfield, Ma

The use of marijuana in many instances, such as where it prevents alzheimers and cures cancers in brains (see Harvard study), are as a preventative, not medicinal. Curing cancer is best done in the early stages, pre-detection.

And there is very little addiction with marijuana. For most people there is no "got to have it." I speak from experience whereas it sounds like you speak form the drug war propaganda book. Please research more carefully before you spread false info.

Here's a scientific report that states "the majority of marijuana users do not develop addiction."

It is nowhere near as addictive as tobacco and alcohol which are legal.

Also, one more faux problem with marijuana propagated by drug warriors is that the strength of marijuana has increased and thus become more addictive. But this can be compared to alcohol, where anyone who isn't an alcoholic will moderate use of whiskey which is much stronger than beer.

Further note: the increased number of marijuana users seeking addiction treatment correlates with increased arrests, as courts tend to make treatment a condition of probation. This proves nothing except that judges read the false info propagated by the drug war.

Ok, I guess it also proves how unjust is our treatment of marijuana users.

Bitingtruths profile image

Bitingtruths 5 years ago from Mumbai Author

Dear Jonathan,

If something has medicinal property than it should be regulated and made available to a patient after correct diagnosis of his illness by a doctor and on his prescription. Something is less addictive or more addictive is not the point here, it is the harmfulness of substance abuse and the health risk it poses to the user.

Why even try something which exposes you to all kinds of health related problems. Leave drugs for a moment,is gambling okay. It may be okay to you if you have inexhaustible amount of money or you don't indulge in it. But what about the vast majority of people who lose their hard earned money to casinos and become a compulsive gamblers. It's okay for you does not mean it's okay for everybody including teenagers.

Why even think of substance abuse to improve your mood, when you can do so many things in life which are equally pleasurable and also productive.

I hope you understand my point.

Kyle 4 years ago

I was born to take LSD and smoke weed. I have been reading all this stuff for 15 years. i went through everything ive ever read about and now every time i smoke or hav a tab my life gets better. i live in a 4 story house on the waterfront in Australia and I have it all thanks to these two drugs. I made the biggest and most valuable business deal of my life whilst on 3 tabs and high as a kite. I think clearer and act far more efficiently on these drugs. why does my brain react so positively?

Same Shit 4 years ago

It's the same shit over and over again, people who have not tried weed or heard something negative about it from a friend's friend, or a long distant relative no one even knows the name of.

If you get addicted to weed then you'll prolly get addicted to a cheeseburger too, the first one you try specially if ya high - rofl

Why not concentrate on the benefits things provide, and make it simple - if ya don't like it don't do it, just STFU and let the people who do like it enjoy it.

And half these women/men in the world with eating disorders, get em to smoke some pot, i guarentee in a few hours they will eat moar and keep it down than you seen them eat in 2 weeks!

People don't like stuff they don't understand and since weed has been around since before all of us, i guess it musta be hella terrible cuz people been doing it for centuries and everyone forgot to say it's bad, but they remembered to scribble down a copy of the bible yo!

WEED BAD BIBLE GOOD NOM NOM NOM! (for rolling j's in anyhow)

Kyeeal 4 years ago

Yeah everything in this article about addiction is false. CB doesn't affect the reward pathways or cause neurons to link to gain access to them, it, put simply, releases dopamine and endorphins and NOT morphine.

I would also like to see a list of citations to support your claims, as I don't believe you could do so.

Kyeeal 4 years ago

Also, there are NO withdrawal symptoms because THC withdrawal DOES NOT exist. Another little point, when you say that the neural connections start disentigrating, you are just wrong. Neural connections are not destroyed unless someone gets brain damage or take an actual harmful substance(THC isn't harmful)

Anonymous 3 years ago

Idk if its too late, but anyway.

2 Things i have to point out:

Marijuana is not addicting

Marijuana is not a gateway drug.

Im 100% against marijuana due to what it does to your mental capacity, it really ruins you in the long run, but it is not addicting nor a gateway drug, in my opinion.

I think the people that wrote this have no experience with this drug and just borrow some details from other drugs like cocaine and apply them to weed. It is not right.

anonymous 3 years ago

my boyfriend of 3years is addicted to weed. he gets very angry wen he is sober and twice he has hit me. the last time he hit me was because he was sober getting ready for work (i have to mke hym go) and he caught 1 of the kids in his weed drawer and i told him it shoudnt b in there reach anyway and the next thing i knw it turnd in to a pshyical fight. he has short term memory loss and no motivatuion in life. so im looking for him some help we don't have a lot of money and we live in texas.

JC 3 years ago

Sounds like your boyfriend suffers form a serious disease called JackAss. Dump the loser. Why does he not act that way when high? because MJ causes spontaneous peacefulness. Not addicted, just a jerk.

tr 2 years ago

Same with my sister's husband he has to have it right when he wakes up or he starts getting angry and yelling around the house. He would spend all his money on weed rather than buy his kids shoes or even food. My sister's borrowed money because of his addiction. Yes weed is beneficial in a lot of ways, but still it's addictive to some people. I know 3 people who are addicted and have the same behaviors when they don't have it, angry, anxiety, will do whatever it takes to get it.

situn nayak 2 years ago

Its better than other complicated

Kelley 21 months ago

Coming from a heroin addict. There is no physical addictive qualitys to weed. It's all mental and really quite mellow. Cravings for weed are far less than cravings for a cig or a drink. And that's the simple truth.

Kevin 10 months ago

The gateway dig hypothesis is tired and old.

lafamillia profile image

lafamillia 10 months ago from Soutcentral Europe

Serbia legalized cannabis made like medicines, but just like "Slovenia mistake" Serbia did the same. We have legalized marijuana for medical proposes, but not natural THC but synthetic ones. Three brand names of cannabis based (psychoactive) and for diagnosis of cancer, MS, and some other really hard conditions; and those as Sativext(TM) spray active substance( delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol i canabidiol), Marinol(TM) active substance( dronabinol), and Cesamet(TM) (nabilon). These three medicines, instead of what Group for Research and Legalization of Cannabis in Serbia should register and investigate- the actual oil of cannabis the actual THC and register proper % or Mg's per dose at some kind of dossers like on black-market, instead of that they helped pharmacy-mafia and did the same error like Slovenia did. So, Serbia haven't discriminated usage of marijuana and it is still classified as an opiate not as cannabis, and created one strong whole in Law that will be used by pharmacy houses to register and sell their non-potent like THC-oil or Cannabis (Sativa) buds themselves but they will continue to grow the gray market, continue to be "blind" on production of 10ml syringes of who knows how much of % of THC in it, and uncontrolled usage and sells in underground. Instead of complete discrimination, which all countries that did that lead to DROP of criminal activities and high tax income, we did again opposite and gave our patients that die every day something that is "close to" what "LEKALIZACIJA" Association was and is fighting for and which SUZA Association with me as chairman is strongly supporting. So once again, YES- Serbia will have 3 medicines based on SYNTHETIC cannabis, for those who most need it but not for all other deceases and ill people where cannabis showed remarkable results such as depression, glaucoma, little to moderate pain, and whole bunch of list with more than 50 indications where natural THC can help and treat with 100% success or reduce significantly illness/ decease itself including HIV/AIDS.

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