Marijuana has negative effects on the brain of the user – this is well known. We would like to remind you of another much more dramatic way it can hurt the brain – by causing auto accidents.
We’ve written about how marijuana has not earned it’s “harmless” reputation because it is possible to become psychologically addicted to marijuana and it often serves as a “gateway drug.” Some lawmakers believe that legalizing marijuana would benefit society. Others believe that marijuana and may help cure diseases.
We would like to re-introduce the concern that marijuana could damage your brain and your ability to make good judgments when driving.
As the most critical organ in the body, the brain is responsible for every function of the body. The brain tells your heart to beat, your hands to move. It allows you to breathe, think, and make choices, whether they’re good or bad. Marijuana could potentially damage your brain by reducing your ability to form memories, recall events, and shift attention from one thing to another.
Inevitably, any additional decriminalization of marijuana will lead to the drug being used by people behind the wheel.
Marijuana’s Direct Effect on the Brain
According to the National Institutes for Health (NIH), marijuana gets into key brain receptors which are essential to normal body functioning. When inhaled, the THC, a chemical in marijuana, makes its way into the cerebellum, the hippocampus, and the hypothalamus, among others. Once THC makes its way into the brain, cells in these areas are killed and have the potential to affect your memory and emotions. Because of this, you don’t react to situations in a constructive way, as you normally would. The fight or flight response that tells your body to act in times of crisis is impaired to the point that you cannot save yourself.
When the THC in marijuana enters the hypothalamus, other bodily organs can be damaged, ultimately leading to permanent brain damage. In some cases, brain chemicals are affected for only a short period of time, but long-term use could erode brain cells and lead to a change in cognitive functioning.
Another Way Marijuana Can Affect the Brain
Another way marijuana could indirectly damage your brain is by causing an auto accident that causes a sharp blow to the head. According to statistics, someone suffers a brain injury every few seconds. Many people who use marijuana find themselves in motor vehicle accidents that damage their brain and cause permanent disability. Many become disabled to the point that they cannot walk. Some become mentally retarded, they lose limbs. Some people become both physically and mentally impaired.
Traumatic brain injuries are caused by forces outside of you, such as a car crash. Traumatic brain injuries may be experienced more by people who don’t even use marijuana because they are involved in auto accidents caused by a driver under the influence of marijuana. A traumatic brain injury causes the brain to bleed internally. The person’s emotions are affected, and in some cases, the brain damage only gets worse. And unfortunately, in many cases, its effects cannot be reversed.
Marijuana Can Be Addictive and Debilitating
If you or someone you love is struggling with marijuana abuse and the drug is becoming more of a necessity than a choice, then it is time to reach out for help.