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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

What Happens To Your Brain When You Smoke Weed

Marijuana, or weed, has been a subject of intrigue, debate, and myths for many years. Questions like “Does weed make you dumber?” and “Does marijuana kill brain cells?” have been asked repeatedly. This article aims to explore these questions, shedding light on the scientific evidence, public opinions, and legal considerations.

What is Marijuana?

Historical Background

Marijuana’s history spans thousands of years, with various cultures using it for medicinal, recreational, and spiritual purposes. Its complex history reflects diverse practices and beliefs across different civilizations.

Chemical Composition

The main psychoactive component in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC, along with CBD and other cannabinoids, plays a crucial role in understanding marijuana’s effects on the brain.

The Debate: Does Weed Make You Dumber?

Scientific Studies and Myths

The myth that marijuana makes you dumb or kills brain cells is widespread. However, of the 18% of Americans who smoked cannabis in 2019, no evidence has conclusively shown that marijuana destroys neurons or memory.

A well-known study from New Zealand followed 1,000 individuals over 38 years, concluding that heavy marijuana users lost up to eight IQ points by midlife. However, this study has been criticized for its limitations, and subsequent research has challenged its findings.

Temporary vs Permanent Effects

While smoking weed before a cognition test may lead to poorer results, the idea that marijuana causes permanent loss of cognition has been largely disproven. Studies, including one by the University of Harvard, have found that learning and memory impairments typically vanish within 28 days of quitting smoking.

Does Marijuana Kill Brain Cells?

Research on Brain Cells and Neurons

Research has not conclusively proven that marijuana kills brain cells. In fact, studies evaluating the cognitive effects of long-term marijuana use are ongoing. Imaging studies of marijuana’s impact on human brain structure have also shown conflicting results. Some studies suggest that regular marijuana use in adolescence is associated with altered connectivity and reduced volume of specific brain regions, while other studies have not found significant differences.

Different Forms of Marijuana

Whether smoking, vaping, or ingesting edibles, the effects of marijuana on the brain’s overall health are still under investigation. Different forms of ingestion may have varying impacts, but the core ingredients remain the same.

Exploring Different Compounds: THC, CBD, and Delta-8

THC and Its Effects

THC interferes with the signaling system in the brain by binding to CB1 receptors, influencing psychological processes like memory, pain sensitivity, hunger, and anxiety. There’s no evidence that THC kills brain cells or neurons; it changes the state of mind but not permanently.

CBD and Its Role

Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive and influences CB1 receptors without binding directly. CBD products have not been proven to kill brain cells and are often legal even where THC is prohibited.

Delta-8 and Its Impact

Delta-8, a synthetic form of THC, is more potent than natural THC. While there’s no evidence to show that delta-8 negatively affects the brain, more research is needed, especially since it’s used to help with conditions like anxiety, chronic pain, depression, and stress.

Memory and Forgetfulness

Marijuana’s impact on memory is a significant concern. Short-term memory loss and problems with thinking do result from smoking marijuana, but no evidence has emerged to demonstrate that this effect is permanent or that existing memories are lost.

Debunking Stereotypes and Myths

The stereotype that smoking weed makes you stupid has been promoted in popular culture. However, there’s no evidence that smoking weed makes you dumber or smarter. It can influence motivation and creativity but doesn’t act as a “Smart Drug.”


The questions surrounding marijuana’s effects on intelligence and brain cells are complex. While temporary effects on cognition and memory are evident, the long-term impacts are still under investigation. Education, responsible use, and ongoing research are vital to understanding marijuana’s true impact.


Q1: Is brain fog caused by weed?

Brain fog, marked by confusion or lack of mental clarity, can be a temporary side effect of weed. The psychoactive compound in marijuana, THC, might interfere with cognitive functions, leading to this sensation. This effect usually wears off as the substance leaves the system.

Q2: What does weed do to your blood?

Consuming weed can cause a temporary increase in heart rate and blood pressure. THC may also affect blood sugar levels and the ability of blood vessels to carry oxygen. Individual responses can vary, and the long-term effects on blood health are still being studied.

Q3: Why does weed make me nicer?

Some people feel more relaxed or sociable after using weed. This reaction could be linked to THC’s interaction with the brain’s endocannabinoid system, influencing mood and social behavior. It’s worth noting that reactions to weed can differ widely among individuals.

Q4: Why do stoners talk like that?

The stereotypical “stoner” way of speaking, often slow and drawn-out, might be a result of marijuana’s calming effects on the central nervous system. THC can slow reaction times and affect coordination, possibly influencing speech patterns. But this stereotype doesn’t fit everyone who consumes marijuana, and effects on speech can vary.

Q5: Is brain fog permanent?

Brain fog is typically a temporary condition, whether caused by weed or other factors like fatigue or stress. In the context of marijuana use, brain fog usually clears up as the drug’s effects diminish. If brain fog persists, it could indicate other underlying health issues, and consulting a healthcare provider would be advisable.

Dr. Jen Chalmers
Dr. Jen Chalmers
Dr. Jen Chalmers is an accomplished writer and cannabis enthusiast. With a Ph.D. in Botany and years of experience as a researcher, she brings a scientific perspective to her captivating articles on cannabis news, recipes, and the fascinating world of psychedelics.

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