Marijuana, also known as cannabis, is used by millions of Americans every day, either for medical or recreational purposes. Medically, marijuana has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including: Alzheimer’s disease, appetite loss, cancer, Crohn’s disease, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), nausea, pain, and more. Whether used medically or recreational, marijuana does have side effects and can affect the way your brain and body function. Understanding how cannabis effects your behavior may help you to be as safe as possible – and to seek help if you’re experiencing any symptoms that don’t feel right.

A 2016 study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry reviewed the effects of cannabis on human behavior, including the following:

  • Cognition – the study emphasized that compared to nonusers, individuals who smoke marijuana but not to the point of intoxication perform worse on neuropsychological function, which includes executive functions, attention, learning and memory, motor skills, and verbal abilities. Research also shows that the extent of cognitive function tends to depend on the length, frequency, and age of onset of marijuana use, as well as a person’s length of abstinence.
  • Motivation – cannabis use has been linked to academic underachievement and low motivation, and THC, the ingredient in marijuana that produces the “high” feeling, has been linked with disrupting reward-based learning, making it potentially difficult for users to learn depending on their use over time. In addition, cannabis use has been linked with negative emotionality, which could further take part in reducing someone’s motivation.
  • Psychosis –  although a variety of causes have been linked to cannabis use and schizophrenia, users may experience symptoms of schizophrenia such as delusions (believing things that aren’t real) or hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that aren’t there). If this occurs, it’s important for a person to seek treatment if the symptoms do not pass within several hours after last marijuana use.

It is possible to become psychologically addicted to marijuana, meaning that you may become dependent on using it whenever you’re feeling stressed, sad, anxious, happy, etc. In these cases, self-medication isn’t the best option because it is being used as an unhealthy coping mechanism. If you are experiencing an underlying illness, it’s best to obtain a diagnosis and to speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center to learn of what could work best for you.

Therapy is a primary component of treatment for rehabilitation from a substance use disorder and/or mental health disorder. Attending treatment with certified clinicians and counselors is critical for a full recovery. At one of New Vista Behavioral Health’s treatment providers, you are receiving exceptional care, held to a higher standard. Our programs result in better outcomes, ensuring a better recovery. For information call us today: 888-316-3665.



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