“Weed” is one of the many slang terms that refer to the dried, cured flowers from any plant in the cannabis family. This herbal substance is often ground, milled, or otherwise broken up and then either rolled into cigarettes or cigars or smoked in countless different pipes. Weed is among the most commonly abused drugs in the US, only coming in behind more socially acceptable substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine.

The most recent danger of weed has come in the form of new legislation and laws in many cities and states around the country, allowing and regulating the use of weed just like alcohol. This has made the weed more accessible and has pushed the possibility of addiction to record levels. 

Retail weed stores often called “dispensaries” are opening on every street in every town in America, it seems like. Here, the users are offered a wide variety of different types of weed, with different effects, flavors, and purposes. Some locations even offer food products that have been combined with weed, called “edibles”, that can be dangerous for users that have not experimented with them before.

With weed that is more dangerous and potent than ever before in history, now available and as easy to get as a craft beer, the potential for weed killing the brain cells of the user has never been higher. The effects that weed can have on the brain are still largely unknown, as studies are just now becoming easier to perform without federal interference, but it goes without saying that the more people have access to it and use it regularly, the more people there are that will develop problems with the drug and let it seriously affect their mind and body.

How Does Weed Impact Your Brain Cells and Body?

With weed being illegal on a federal level there is a significant lack of research into the effects of weed on the mind and body. There are some indications that some users may experience some significant effects as a result of their weed use. The specific way in which weed impacts the mind and body of the user, however, will greatly depend on the user and many factors of their biology and physiology.

From birth, our bodies are designed to both use and produce endogenous forms of the cannabinoid compounds found in weed. This means the human body creates its own cannabinoids for a range of purposes, and it also means that the human brain is also designed to have cannabinoid receptors to facilitate the effective use of cannabinoids. 

Weed is unique among many drugs in that it has its own receptors in our brain, and it does not have to interfere with other systems in the body. This also means that when a user takes weed, it is likely to cause similar effects as when the brain interacts with the natural endocannabinoids present in our bodies.

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In some research, those who used weed were assigned a list of vocabulary words to memorize, as were a group of people who had not used weed. The results indicated that when compared to the weed users, the non-users were able to recall one more word on average. This particular study showed a strong correlation between the use of weed and the way that the brain is able to receive, store, and retrieve information.

Additional research has shown that there may be a link between heavy and prolonged use of weed and performance on a difficult cognitive test. The test took slightly longer than the control group, who either did not smoke or smoked lightly or occasionally before quitting. Despite the low risk and potentially minimal effects, there are still significant restrictions on research that may help us more completely understand the effects of weed on the mind and body in both the long-term and the short.

Does Weed Kill Brain Cells?

Despite a number of research projects that have investigated any possible links between smoking weed and permanent brain damage, there has not been any concrete, peer-reviewed evidence that smoking weed damages brain structure or function. Many indications show quite the opposite, in fact, and show a potentially neuroprotective function of some of the cannabinoids (however, this is just one component of weed. Overall, the side-effects of weed can be more harmful than helpful to the individual). This isn’t to say that smoking weed is without danger, however.

Just like with many substances, there is a temporary effect on brain cells and some do die during consumption, but it is neither a consequential amount nor a permanent die-off. Nearly all of the harmful effects of weed come from the actual act of smoking. Smoking anything results in the combustion of the desired substance to consume the active compounds, and the creation of several other potentially toxic compounds such as carbon monoxide, tar, and more. Inhaling these compounds, as well as incredibly hot smoke, both displaces oxygen in the blood and brain, as well as kills off brain cells.

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How to Get Help Before Weed Kills Your Brain Cells: Treatment Options for An Addiction

Even though weed might not permanently kill your brain cells, smoking weed can still have adverse or negative effects on the life and health of the user. If you believe you or someone you know may have a substance issue with weed, the first thing that should be done is reaching out to recovery professionals to begin planning the process of detox, withdrawal, and recovery. 

Detox from weed and getting help before weed kills your brain cells can help keep you going through a much easier and comfortable withdrawal process. Working with experienced treatment professionals can ensure that there are no adverse effects during the withdrawal process, and can help mitigate any physical discomfort that may be experienced during the acute withdrawal stage as well as post-acute withdrawal stage. The treatment counselors will also help the user identify their triggers. This can equip them to recognize a situation or event that may push them to relapse and use, and avoid the situations entirely.

Amanda Stevens

Amanda Stevens

Amanda is a prolific content writer, and is in recovery from disordered eating. She has a passion for health, nutrition, meditation, spiritual practices, and being a mother of a beautiful daughter.

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