Without a doubt, we have all heard that smoking weed can affect the brain negatively by being bad for your memory and focus. On the other side, we have also heard that it actually can help improve concentration and creativity. A lot of this comes down to personal experience and how the cannabinoids interact with your DNA. Some people can smoke weed and do nothing but Netflix and chill, other people can smoke weed and run million dollar companies or push the boundaries of know science. Some people complete their master’s degree while being high and some people cannot walk to the shop while being high. You have to experiment and you have to learn what works for you.
It is important to understand exactly how things work so that you can use your tools to improve your life. The physical effects of consuming cannabis stay the same for everyone though so that is a good point to start with our understanding.
The Brain Basics
The human brain is a very complicated system and it is hard to understand for most of us. Basically, as we grow older through our childhood and teenage years, our brain forms different connections between different parts of the brain (neural pathways) and these pathways become like highways for information. They help us function in daily life by regulating our reactions and behavior.
There are 3 main areas that need to develop over this time, the first one regulates memory and learning, the second regulates mood and the third regulates motivation. These are all crucial aspects that we have to keep healthy in order to live a happy life. All of these different sections communicate and work together to keep you functioning as well as possible (like a high performing supercomputer). As mentioned above they communicate with each other using neurons or neural pathways, you want these to be wired as well as possible because they will greatly determine how you feel and think in every moment.
One of the most interesting things about cannabis and cannabinoids is that our brain actually produces very similar cannabinoids. This is our brain’s natural way of rewarding us when you complete our goals or when we have happy experiences.
Who knew our brain likes cannabinoids as much as we do!
The Brain and Cannabis
When we smoke cannabis we flood our brain with these cannabinoids, like THC and CBD. This is why we can experience enhanced mood, euphoria and increased relaxation when we smoke cannabis. Weed affects the brain in the same way as our natural rewards systems, so basically, we just choose to rewards ourselves! This is simply a tool, and like many tools, you can use it well or you can use it bad.
On a normal day or brain has a process that stops certain neurons from communicating because they might become too dominant or take over too much of the information traffic. This is why when you are sober you think about something or a short while and then you stop thinking about it because of your brain kind of stops the connection. When you are on cannabis these connections keep going and you can get fully immersed into that particular thought.
For example, you are high and you start thinking about cats, you think so deeply about cats that is can feel like the whole universe makes sense and that you should make your life about cats, yet the next moment you think about how crazy water is and you completely forget that you were thinking about cats.
This can also have its effects on our memory. We hear many stories about longtime cannabis users and their short-term memory loss. This is not without truth; THC does affect the area that regulates memory and learning and with abuse of cannabis, there can be a recognizable decrease in the productivity of this area. This is also why we enjoy cannabis so much because simple things can blow our minds and we can forget about all the things that normally stress us out.
One other point to consider is that our brain learns how to effectively produce cannabinoids in order to manage our mood, memory, motivation as well as higher cognitive functions. When we chronically smoke cannabis (high doses at regular intervals) then our brain is permanently flooded with external cannabinoids. This can mean that it will be unsure on how the naturally produce them and it might become tapped out. This can be a cause of many negative feelings in long time smokers when it comes to these areas of the brain. However this is only in abusive users, and even then nothing is done that cannot be undone.
Are cannabis effects positive or negative for the brain?
As I said, everything we have are tools that we can learn and choose how to use. Cannabis is no different. Everyone will not choose to use it in the same way because not everyone thinks the same and wants the same things out of life, and this is the beautiful part.
Cannabis can definitely have amazing effects and we can see all around the world that weed is helping people in many different areas of life including social, medical and economical. However, as with anything in the world, we need to educate ourselves, we need to understand the picture as a whole and we need to look at things as objective as possible to find what suits us best.
Therefore there is no right or wrong way to look at this, simply do what makes you truly happy.
The best advice I can give you is to constantly ask yourself if you are happy with the way you are feeling and the way you are doing things.