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How marijuana brings about changes in body and mind
Posted in Addiction, Treatment

Marijuana is perhaps the most controversial drug in the United States. In spite of being classified as a Schedule I drug by the federal government, 29 American states and the District of Columbia have legalized it in some form. Advocates point to possible health benefits, while detractors point to the various dangers. Sorting through the debate to find the facts can be difficult. Luckily, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine have compiled a comprehensive report on what the latest research says about the effects of marijuana.

Positive effects of marijuana

The active chemical in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This chemical targets the pleasure center of the brain, which results in euphoria. Some other positive effects are:

Negative effects of marijuana

Marijuana can help improve mood according to some experts but research also shows that the more individuals smoke, the more they have to smoke in order to maintain their euphoria. Other negative effects are:

  • Marijuana can elevate a user’s heart rate. After smoking, an individual’s heart rate can increase to 50 beats a minute. This condition can last for up to three hours.
  • It can interfere with balance. It influences activity in the cerebellum and basal ganglia, the regions in the brain that help manage balance and coordination.
  • Chronic use can negatively affect how individuals make memories.
  • Studies indicate the frequent use of marijuana can lead to clinical depression.
  • The most troubling aspect of chronic use of marijuana is its connection to the onset of schizophrenia.
  • Marijuana may affect the lungs and increase the risk of lung cancer, though studies are not conclusive.
  • Evidence points to lower birth weights among infants born to mothers who smoke marijuana during pregnancy.

Seeking treatment

Sovereign Health of Texas treats addiction including marijuana addiction. When a patient comes to us for help, our only concern is to return that individual to the life he or she knew before becoming drug dependent. We follow individualized treatment plans. Every Sovereign Health patient receives the latest in evidence-based treatment. This means every Sovereign patient receives the best care available. Contact the 24/7 helpline listed on this web page to learn more about our programs.

About the author

Darren Fraser is a content writer for Sovereign Health. He worked two and half years as reporter and researcher for The Yomiuri Shimbun until they realized he did not read, speak or write Japanese and fired him. Undeterred, he channels his love of research into unearthing stories that provide hope to those dealing with addiction and mental illness. Darren loves the Montreal Canadiens hockey club, Fichte and horror films and would prefer to enjoy these from the comforts of his family’s farm in Quebec. For more information about this media, contact the author at

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