What Changes Does Marijuana Make to Your Brain and Can a Rehab Center Reverse Them?
If you are regularly using marijuana, it has already made changes to your brain. You can try to live in denial or justify your use, but there isn’t any way to erase the reality of the changes. The more chronic your marijuana use is, the more severe and comprehensive the changes will be. In some cases, the changes can result in irreparable harm.
You may be wondering how you can stop these changes from happening and the answer is stopping your marijuana use. You know that. But, you may still wonder about the changes to your brain and whether or not they will remain for the rest of your life. Will your time in a rehab center eliminate them?
The time that you spend abstaining from marijuana will reverse some of the drug’s effects on your brain. And, you may not be able to abstain without the support and guidance of a qualified rehab center. In that way, yes, the rehab center can correct brain changes caused by using pot.
To find a center that can help you curb your marijuana use and to stop the brain changes it causes, call RehabCenters.com at 800-481-6320. We are happy to answer questions, discuss financing, and direct you to professional treatment programs. Your future can be bright with a little help.
Immediate Effects on the Brain
Like all drugs, marijuana creates your high by impacting your brain function. Cocaine does it. Opiates do it. And, pot does it. It’s how drugs work.
But, learning about those changes can better help you understand how the immediate effects of marijuana use can lead to larger changes and the role that treatment can play in reversing them.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the chemical that causes marijuana’s effects, which include the euphoria or “high” feeling. A cannabinoid naturally produced in the human brain, anandamide, actually regulates our sleep, mood, appetite and memory. Anandamide and THC are very similar.
So, you use marijuana, you get THC in your system, and your neurons start firing like crazy. This is what magnifies your perceptions and thoughts and keeps you fixated on ideas until you think of something new and chase off after that. Your levels of a chemical called dopamine are also affects and that’s what causes you to relax and feel high.
These are the simple, immediate changes and they depend upon factors like:
- The amount taken
- The potency (at high doses, you can end up in a terrifying hallucinatory state)
- Your size
- Your physical make up
Some people will not feel relaxed and euphoric when they use, and will instead, experience heightened anxiety and panic attacks.
Long-Term Effects on the Brain
The National Institute on Drug Addiction asserts a large amount of evidence from both animal research and a growing number of human studies demonstrate marijuana during development causes long-term or permanent brain changes. Keep in mind, these findings relate to developing minds, so these changes are specific to adolescent users and younger.
Their research demonstrates:
- A reformed reward system, which increases the likelihood that users will self-administer other drugs if given a chance
- Altered connectivity
- Condensed size of specific brain regions
- Functional impairments
- Lower scores on tests of verbal memory
- Loss of IQ points
All users face changes to their hippocampus, the area of the brain that forms memories. Studies show that chronic THC exposure speeds up the natural loss of neurons that are brought about by aging. This leaves people with a memory that functions like that of a much older person.
Abstaining from use can reverse some of the negative effects that marijuana has on your brain. However, people who were heavy users in their teen years may never achieve full reversal. For instance, those involved in the study showing lowered IQ never regained those lost points.
A 2002 study of heavy smokers showed memory impairment as many as 7 days after their last use. However, by day 28, their results were no different than the control. People in treatment are more likely to achieve and maintain abstinence, which is how a rehab center can help you to reverse these changes.
Most of the immediate effects on the brain naturally dissipate over the course of hours, however, heavier use has a more severe impact.
When you stop using, your brain can start reverting to its normal functioning and treatment can help you do that. For help finding a rehab center that is experienced in treating marijuana addiction call 800-481-6320.
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