Your Brain on Marijuana: Separating Fact from Fiction


Marijuana has been the subject of conversations about overall health for many years, but what are the actual risks? What are the benefits? If these are questions that you ask yourself, you’re in luck, because we’re here to answer.

Fiction: Marijuana Fries Your Brain

fried eggs

This is a common misconception, mostly because it has been pushed by anti-drug advertisements for years. While it is not suggested for people under the age of 21, smoking marijuana as an adult, even heavily, does not damage the brain, and it most certainly does not damage it extensively.

According to research done by the University of California, marijuana will not “fry” your brain the way that those obnoxious prime-time commercials suggest. To put it simply, no, pot cannot fry your brain like an egg.

Fact: Marijuana Can Hurt Your Lungs

Studies show that marijuana can, in fact, hurt your lungs, that is only if you burn the plant material frequently. In this context, frequently means more than a joint a day. If you keep it under a joint a day, another study shows that your health will not be affected negatively.

Fiction: Pharmaceuticals are Safer than Marijuana

Though pharmaceuticals would rather you believe this myth, that is, in fact, all it is: a myth. While marijuana does have some possible side-effects, none of them are life-threatening. Many pharmaceuticals, on the other hand, do have life-threatening risks associated with them.

Fact: You Can Become Dependent on Marijuana

While you cannot become physically addicted to it in the way that you can with other illicit substances such as alcohol, opiates, or benzodiazepines, you can still expeunderstanding_drug_addiction_withdrawalrience withdrawal symptoms.

If you are a heavy marijuana user, you may experience anxiety or irritability, but your body will not go through the physical pain usually associated with substance withdrawal. This information is all backed by a study in Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology.

Fiction: Cannabis Causes Psychosis

Marijuana can lead to side-effects such as paranoia and hostile reactions, but there is no evidence proving that it is the root cause of psychosis in smokers.

If psychotic behavior is found in individuals, they likely had a predisposition, which could have been just as easily triggered by anything else. This study from NPR suggests that only those with such a predisposition will have such a negative reaction to using marijuana.

Fact: There is a Lot of Bad Information Out There

The fact of the matter is, there have been people fighting the recreational use of cannabis for years, and there likely will be for more years to come. A lot of bad information is out there, pushing people both towards and against the use of marijuana.

As long as you are aware of the pros and the cons of cannabis use, you can be comfortable using it–or not! It just depends on what you feel is right for you.


Jheri is a successful freelance writer and cannabis enthusiast from Michigan. She is currently writing her novel and a number of short stories, as well as promoting cannabis for Smoke Weed and Medical Marijuana Cure. Her office is based in Denver, CO.

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