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Is marijuana bad for your brain? - Anees Bahji


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In 1970, marijuana was classified as a schedule 1 drug in the United States: the strictest designation possible, meaning it was completely illegal and had no recognized medical uses. Today, marijuana’s therapeutic benefits are widely acknowledged, but a growing recognition for its medical value doesn’t answer the question: is recreational marijuana use bad for your brain? Anees Bahji investigates.

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While cannabis may be used by some people for their health conditions, deciding whether cannabis is appropriate to treat an individual’s symptoms is best made through discussion with a health care practitioner. Unregulated cannabis use can lead to various mental, emotional and physical effects including hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and fear and changes in thinking or ability to make decisions. Using cannabis before the age of 18 increases the risk for long-term effects. In some cases, unregulated cannabis use may lead to Cannabis Use Disorder, which can go largely untreated. Cannabis Use Disorder is a medical term for cannabis use resulting in distress and distress. This can include failure to meet responsibilities at school, work or home. Cannabis Use Disorder ranges differently. For more on the addictive property of cannabis and its effects, click here!

Driving after cannabis consumption is illegal, and raises the risk of a crash. Cannabis may impact a driver’s reaction time, attention, and judgement. According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, many youth believe that driving under the influence of cannabis is safer or less dangerous than alcohol-impaired driving. This is partly due to the fact that youth didn’t associate the positive feeling of being high with the potential risk of impaired driving. To learn more about Cannabis use and its driving-related impacts, click here. Or for more on the impact of cannabis on consumers, click here!

While cannabis use varies, smoking cannabis through joints or bongs is the most harmful way of consuming cannabis because of the negative effects it has on the lungs. Some believe deep inhaling, holding their breath, increases their high when smoking. However, there is mixed evidence on whether this is true. It is clear, however, that this method increases the absorption of toxic materials in your lungs, which negatively impacts the lung. Consuming cannabis through vaping can be less harmful. Edibles are also another less harmful option. However, the delayed effect poses a different risk. Remember, there is no method that is entirely risk-free. Click here to learn 10 ways to reduce the risk of cannabis when using! 

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TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Anees Bahji
  • Director Anton Bogaty
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
  • Animator Anton Bogaty
  • Storyboard Artist Anton Bogaty
  • Character Designer Anton Bogaty
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Associate Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Associate Editorial Producer Elizabeth Cox
  • Script Editor Emma Bryce
  • Fact-Checker Eden Girma

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