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How Marijuana affects the brain

HOW MARIJUANA AFFECTS THE BRAIN

THC, the key ingredient in marijuana, attraches to cannabinoid receptors throughout the body. Aeveral areas of the brain have high densitites of these receptors, which helps explain the different effects of the drug.

How the receptors work
Nerve cells communicate by passing chemical messages across contact points called synapses. the most active ingredient in marijuana, THC attaches to cannabinoid receptors and modifies nerve action.

Some areas with high concentrations of cannabiniod receptors
Hypothalamus
Governs metabolic processes such as appetite.
Marijuana effects:Increased appetite

Brain stem
Controls many basic functions including arousal, the vomiting reflex, blood pressure and heart rate. Also plays a role in pain sensation, muscle tone and movement.
Marijuana Effects: Nausea relief; rapid heart rate; reduced blood pressure; drowsiness; Pain reduction; reduced spasticity;reduced tremor

Cerebral cortex
Plays a role in memory, thinking, perceptual awareness, and consciousness.
Marijuana Effects: Altered consciousness; perceptual distortions memory impairment; occasional delusions and hallucinations

Hippocampus
Is key to memory storage and recall.
Marijuana Effects: Impairment in memory

Cerebellum
Governs coordination and muscle control.
Marijuana Effects: Reduced apasticity; impaired coordination

Amygdala
Plays a role in emotions.
Marijuana Effects: Anxiety and panic in some cases; reduced anxiety and blocking of tramatic memories in other cases; reducing hostility

Estimated percentage of people in a national survey who used
a substance at least once and became dependent

Tobacco 32% Anxiolytic sedative 9%
Heroin 23% Marijuana 9%
Cocaine 17% Analgesic drugs 8%
Alcohol 15% Psychedelic drugs 5%
Stimulants 11% Inhalent drugs 4%

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