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It's Your Brain...How Marijuana Effects Your Brain

Learn how marijuana impairs driving & critical thinking and lowers IQ. Fact or fiction? Learn how to decide.

Vicky Bush

on 29 July 2014

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Transcript of It's Your Brain...How Marijuana Effects Your Brain

Your Brain
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It's your brain...
Marijuana Policy Project
Impairs Driving
What's in your mind?
Zoom anywhere...
Are voters, legislators, and judges voting wisely?
...how will you treat it?
you only get one
Have most voters read the research or do they believe the myths?
How would you vote?
Timothy Barnette, 19, was sentenced to 6 years in prison. After using Xanax and smoking pot, he lost control of his car, crossed the median, and crashed into another vehicle, killing its 22 year old driver .
December 13, 2013
Nick Hart was on his way to a relative's funeral when was killed instantly by the accident. Nick graduated from Poway High in 2009 and attended CSU San Marcos. He loved to surf and rock climb. He was "a beautiful son...who was going to change the world."
Impaired motor coordination
Slower reaction time
Reduced judgement
"Currently, one of nine drivers involved in fatal crashes would test positive for marijuana," said co-author Dr. Guohua Li, director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia.
"If the driver is under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana, their risk increases to 24 times that of a sober person."
Brady, J., & Li, G. L. (2014, January 29). American Journal of Epidemiology. Trends in Alcohol and Other Drugs Detected in Fatally Injured Drivers in the United States, 1999–2010. Retrieved July 19, 2014, from http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/179/6/
What parts of the BRaiN are affected by marijuana (THC)???
"Using state-of-the-art technology, researchers measured electrical activity from hundreds of neurons in rats that were given a drug that mimics the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana. While the effects of the drug on individual brain regions were subtle, the drug completely disrupted co-ordinated brain waves across the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, as though two sections of the orchestra were playing out of synch. Both of these brain structures are essential for memory and decision-making and heavily implicated in the pathology of schizophrenia.

The results from the study showed that, as a consequence of this decoupling of hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, the rats became unable to make accurate decisions when navigating around a maze" (Kucewicz et al).

Impaired Judgement
8 IQ points lost between age 13 and 38 for chronic users who started using marijuana as teen-agers
Graph shows measured drop in IQ with marijuana use. The decline is far worse when started as a teen-ager. This study used 1,037 individuals followed from birth (1972/1973) to age 38 y. They were interviewed about their marijuana use at ages 18, 21, 26, 32, and 38 y. The graph shows their IQ's at age 13 and 39 y. The paper was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, considered one of the most prestigious science journals in the world (Meier)
What happens to your IQ if you smoke pot???
p.s. you can stop the decline if you stop smoking, but damage has occured
©2012 by National Academy of Sciences

Meier M H et al. PNAS 2012;109:E2657-E2664

Postcessation IQ among former persistent cannabis users.

The scary part, is that your brain doesn't repair all the damage you do from smoking pot regularly as a teenager.
Fig. 3.
Postcessation IQ among former persistent cannabis users. This figure is restricted to persistent cannabis users, defined as study members with two or more diagnoses of cannabis dependence. Shown is full-scale IQ in childhood and adulthood. IQ is plotted as a function of (i) age of onset of at lcy of cannabis use at age 38 y. Infrequent use was defined as weekly or less frequent use in the year preceding testing at age 38 y. Median use among infrequent and frequent adolescent-onset cannabis users was 14 (range: 0–52) and 365 (range: 100–365) d, respectively. Median use among infrequent and frequent adult-onset cannabis users was 6 (range: 0–52) and 365 (range: 100–365) d, respectively. IQ decline was apparent even after cessation of cannabis use for adolescent-onset former persistent cannabis users. Error bars = SEs.east weekly cannabis use and (ii) the frequency (Meier)

The NAS is the most respected body of scientists in the United States. Members serve with no pay as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine. New members are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Election to the National Academy is one of the high honors in U.S. science" (wikipedia).

Proceedings of the
National Academy of Science
"On the chemical level, the teen brain is influenced by volatile levels of the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine...the teen brain is different...Leslie and colleagues (2004) note that risk taking, drugs, and sexual activity activate dopamine levels" (Jensen p. 31)
Teachers need to "Be clear about the dangers of substance abuse. The young brain is highly receptive to the effects of drugs at this age, underlining the need to be clear and stern about avoiding both the use of illegal substances" (Jensen, p. 32)
Download this great reference @
How Marijuana Works: http://science.howstuffworks.com/marijuana7.htm/printable (Bonsor)
did you know...
Marijuana laws are rapidly changing...
are they changing too fast?
60 percent of high school seniors report they don't believe regular marijuana use is harmful (Lees)
In 2011, marijuana contributed to over 455,000 visits to the emergency department in the United States; 13% of these patients were between the ages of 12 and 17
Did YOU know that...
my brain ?
THC mimics your body's neurotransmitter anandamide affecting
Short-term memory
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
"It is harmless and natural, it is only an herb, and it won't affect me long-term"
"It is not addictive"
"It doesn't hurt me as much as smoking tobacco"
"It makes me feel calm"
"It doesn't affect my thinking or my grades"
"It's safe because it is used as medicine for cancer and other diseases"
Myth or Fact?
Marijuana's main active chemical molecule is delta-9-tetrahodrocannabinol of
Presented by:
Vicky Bush
EDGR 535-Theories of Teaching and Learning
Concordia University
20 July 2014
Marijuana is legal for adults in Colorado, but students are smoking in classrooms
Denver, Colorado
February 2014
Does it surprise you that teens have easier access to marijuana now that it's been legalized for adults?
Have your opinions changed?
Fact or myth...
...has your opinion changed?
Here's a journal article (Cavazos-Rehg) about the numbers of pro-marijuana tweets being sent to teen-agers
Note that the source is from Washington University School of Medicine
Look at the number of references and their reputations. You could delve into their research more by looking at these.
The abstract summarizes the study:
"The intent of the study was to assess the content of “tweets” and the demographics of followers of a popular pro-marijuana Twitter handle."
"A total of 2590 tweets were sent from May 1 to December 31, 2013 to approximately 1,000,000 followers"
Of the 2285 tweets send to all customers,
1875 (82.06%) were positive about marijuana
403 (17.64%) were neutral
7 (0.31%) appeared negative about marijuana.
Do you think most teenagers accepted these "tweets" as facts?
"Cross-sectional studies have revealed significant associations between cannabis use and a range of measures of educational performance including lower grade point average, less satisfaction with school, negative attitudes to school, increased rates of school absenteeism and poor school performance" (Lynskey, 2000).
"Despite some contentious discussions regarding the addictiveness of marijuana, the evidence clearly indicates that long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction.
Indeed, approximately 9% of those who experiment with marijuana will become addicted" (Volkow).
The New England Journal of Medicine is one of the most distinguished medical journals. Published June 2014.

Concludes that marijuana use has been associated with substantial
adverse effects, some of which have been determined
with a high level of confidence (Table 2).

Marijuana can result in addiction.

Marijuana can interfere with cognitive function (e.g., memory
and perception of time)

Marijuana can interfere with motor function (e.g.,coordination)

Repeated marijuana use during adolescence may result in long-lasting changes in brainfunction that can jeopardize educational, professional, and social achievements.
Did you see this tiny article in the San Diego UT July 15th, 2014?
Here's the article they're talking about...
(Marijuana and Teens)
Check out this website (Eden):
"cognitive chaos--
parts of stoned brain out of sync"
AWESOME website for links and info about drug abuse !!!!
How about driving?
May 16, 2013
by Vicky Bush
Full transcript