Does Marijuana Kill Brain Cells?

Using marijuana can cause damage to brain cells that results in a number of concurrent symptoms throughout the body. Some effects of heavy marijuana use on the brain may not be reversible among teens.

Start the road to recovery

(877) 746-0480

Call Now

Treatment Center Locator

Recovery Unplugged Austin Rehab Center

Austin, TX

Multiple Levels of Care

844-817-9493

Burkwood Treatment Center

Hudson, WI

Residential

844-251-2961

Denver Recovery Center

Denver, CO

Multiple Levels of Care

855-729-4891

Wellness Counseling Vida Entera

Lake Elsinore, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-929-2029

Timberline Knolls for Women

Lemont, IL

Multiple Levels of Care

855-200-8406

Sierra Tucson

Tucson, AZ

Full Spectrum of Care

855-889-6553

Recovery First Treatment Center – Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

888-603-7860

Southeast Addiction Center

Atlanta, GA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-614-6174

United Recovery Project

Hollywood, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

877-586-7043

Sober Life San Diego

San Diego, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-667-8629

SUWS of the Carolinas

Old Fort, NC

Residential

844-811-2644

Compass Detox

Pembroke Pines, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

844-244-5997

America’s Rehab Campuses

Tucson, AZ

Multiple Levels of Care

877-484-7367

Azure Acres Treatment Center

Sebastopol, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-872-7360

Life Center of Galax

Galax, VA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-428-7940

Acadiana Treatment Center

Sunset, LA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-548-6273

Future Now Detox

Palm Springs, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

877-325-0525

JourneyPure – Florida

Melbourne, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

(844) 899-9541

Recovery First Treatment Center – Hollywood

Hollywood, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

888-603-7860

Mount Regis Center

Salem, VA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-539-2026

North Tampa Behavioral Health

Tampa, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

844-870-8069

Starlite Recovery Center

Center Point, TX

Multiple Levels of Care

855-349-1116

New England Recovery & Wellness

Concord, NH

Multiple Levels of Care

844-408-1433

Moonlight Mountain Recovery

Pocatello, ID

Multiple Levels of Care

866-831-4706

Blue Ridge Mountain Recovery Center

Ball Ground, GA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-498-9407

Northeast Addiction Treatment Center

Quincy, MA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-831-4406

Recovery Unplugged – Austin Detox

Austin, TX

Detox

855-958-1650

Park Royal Hospital

Fort Myers, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

844-763-3294

Oceanside Malibu

Malibu, CA

Full Spectrum of Care

866-275-3956

Relevance Behavioral Health

Freehold, NJ

Multiple Levels of Care

844-734-3524

Bowling Green Brandywine

Kennett Square, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-797-7507

White Deer Run

Allenwood, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-638-3697

Recovery Unplugged Fort Lauderdale

Fourt Lauderdale, FL

Full Spectrum of Care

855-900-6613

Wilmington Treatment Center

Wilmington, NC

Multiple Levels of Care

877-257-1203

Silver Lining Recovery

Huntington Beach, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-940-0031

The Refuge, A Healing Place

Ocklawaha, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

855-990-1029

Life Healing Center

Santa Fe, NM

Multiple Levels of Care

844-285-2916

Huntington Creek Recovery Center

Shickshinny, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-892-1288

Bluff Plantation

Augusta, GA

Inpatient

855-331-2490

Dana Point Rehab Campus

Dana Point, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-944-2609

Recovery Unplugged Lake Worth Detox, Rehab, and Treatment Center

Lake Worth, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

888-283-0199

JourneyPure – Tennessee

Knoxville, TN

Multiple Levels of Care

(844) 899-9541

Ambrosia Treatment Center – Northeast

Philadelphia, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-970-0918

SOBA New Jersey

New Brunswick, NJ

Multiple Levels of Care

888-341-1174

Duffy’s Napa Valley Rehab

Calistoga, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-766-4576

Keystone Treatment Center

Canton, SD

Multiple Levels of Care

855-417-3666

Wellness Counseling & Residential Detox

Stuart, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

855-937-0191

Cove Forge Behavioral Health Center

Williamsburg, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-225-6578

Pocono Mountain Recovery Center

Henryville, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-589-1547

The Camp Recovery Center

Scotts Valley, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-282-5771

Sunflower Wellness Retreat

Osawatomie, KS

Multiple Levels of Care

888-411-9183

Greenleaf Behavioral Health Hospital

Valdosta, GA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-692-1694

Amethyst Recovery

Port St. Lucie, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

888-965-6726

Ambrosia Treatment Center – Westcoast

Beverly Hills, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-970-0918

Riverwalk Ranch

Mansfield, TX

Multiple Levels of Care

866-634-7479

Treasure Valley Recovery

Nampa, ID

Multiple Levels of Care

855-248-2193

Bradford Recovery Center

Millerton, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-769-9928

Cornerstone Healing Center

Scottsdale, AZ

Multiple Levels of Care

844-931-1105

Enlightened Solutions

Egg Harbor City, NJ

Multiple Levels of Care

855-408-7163

The Harrison House of Northern Virginia

Annandale, VA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-734-4364

Carus Recovery

Van Nuys, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

888-616-9024

Pinnacle Peak Recovery

Scottsdale, AZ

Multiple Levels of Care

844-225-8937

1st Step Behavioral Health

Pompano Beach, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

844-334-8400

Ambrosia Treatment Center

West Palm Beach, FL

Inpatient

866-970-0918

Beachside Rehab

Fort Pierce, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

888-452-3049

Clear Life Recovery

Costa Mesa, CA

Full Spectrum of Care

888-638-7182

How Does Marijuana Affect the Brain?

Whether or not using marijuana will kill brain cells has become a topic of debate in recent years. Weed's long-term effects on the body are not fully known.

As recreational marijuana use becomes legalized throughout the US, many people now wonder how marijuana affects the brain and whether or not it kills brain cells. Just as years of heavy alcohol, meth, and heroin use can cause some irreversible brain damage, prolonged marijuana abuse can affect the ability of brain cells to convey messages (also known as brain activity). Using marijuana can cause damage to brain cells that results in a number of concurrent symptoms throughout the body.

Like other drugs, components of marijuana bind with specific receptors in the brain. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is marijuana’s primary psychoactive ingredient, and it attaches to the brain’s cannabinoid receptors (officially known as cannabinoid receptor type 1 or CB1). These receptors connect to nerves in the brain function which govern memory, appetite, pain regulation, and mood.

When a person smokes marijuana, they may notice they struggle with staying focused or recalling important details. This can worsen with prolonged marijuana use, resulting in problems like poor memory and concentration.  Motor skills can also be affected by the drug. If someone decides to drive while high, they can endanger their lives and the lives of others.

At this time, scientists are not fully aware of the long-term effects of marijuana use and the brain. They have, however, found a correlation between children and adolescence who use marijuana regularly who grow up to have lower IQs due to their marijuana use. Therefore, exposure to THC as a child can cause changes in cognition and memory later on in life. Less research has been done or has found much on adults who begin using marijuana after the adolescent stage.

Effect of Marijuana Use on IQ

The amount of brain cells killed off by marijuana would also depend on the amount a person has smoked and their age of use. The effects of marijuana on the brain mostly affect individuals under 25 as their brains are still developing.  A study of marijuana’s effect on IQ revealed individuals who began using marijuana at a young age lost 6 to 8 points from their IQ by middle age. Moreover, those who smoked marijuana throughout their adolescence, then stopped, did not regain their IQ points. Conversely, individuals who began using marijuana in their adulthood did not endure any IQ loss.

Synthetic Marijuana’s Effect On The Brain

Synthetic marijuana, a man-made hallucinogenic substance typically sprayed onto plant material, is not safe for human consumption but has become popular in recent years. Also known as “fake weed,” it produces mind-altering affects and can cause the individual to act in an odd manner. Synthetic marijuana is illegal and may have toxic ingredients that can cause increased heart rate, unexplained bleeding, and vomiting.

Similar to marijuana, synthetic marijuana affects the brain by attaching itself to the cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) found in both the central and peripheral nervous systems. Synthetic weed binds more strongly to CB1 receptors than THC, making it at least 100 times more potent in the brain. Because CB1 receptors have multiple locations in the brain, side effects can be intense and harmful.

Synthetic marijuana may cause the brain and body to experience:

  • Memory loss
  • Seizures
  • Psychosis
  • Cardiac and respiratory problems
  • Stroke
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Altered perception or euphoria
  • Violent behavior
  • Kidney and brain damage

In addition to the above symptoms, synthetic marijuana can be addictive to individuals who take it. Addiction, a chronic disease, can result in drug abuse that directly damages the brain, as well as risky behaviors that can cause further damage. After prolonged use of synthetic marijuana, brain cell activity is likely to decline with a concurrent increase in negative physiological symptoms like the ones above.

Ready to get help?

Don’t waste another second. Enter your number to receive a call
from a compassionate treatment expert.

Make a Call (855) 826-4464

- OR -

Request a Call
(877) 746-0480

Short- and Long-Term Effects of Marijuana Use on The Brain

The immediate, short-term effects of marijuana use on the brain include:

  • Difficulty judging distances
  • Difficulty remembering
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety

Long-term effects include but are not limited to:

  • Some cognitive impairment
  • Some memory loss
  • Increased likelihood to use other drugs
  • Increasing marijuana tolerance
  • Marijuana dependence
Scroll to Find Your Insurance

Have you been affected by OxyContin®?

There may be a settlement available

Make a Call (855) 935-4660

- OR -

Get more information now Learn More

Get Help Today

Marijuana can have calming effects on the individual, but when over used or combined with other substances, can be very harmful. Stopping marijuana use can be difficult, and if you or loved one struggles to stop or endangers their life, they may need detox and treatment. Treatment takes individuals away from triggers individuals who use marijuana may have like anxiety. Instead, he or she would get counseling to uncover what they need most.

Medications would reduce cravings for marijuana, and detox would eliminate toxins in the body, returning it to its healthy state. The road to sobriety can be achieved without judgement or difficulty. Contact a compassionate treatment provider today.

Treatment professionals are waiting for your call

(855) 826-4464

Take control of your life

Our treatment providers offer 24/7 assistance.

  • Access to top treatment centers
  • Caring, supportive guidance
  • Financial assistance options

Call now:

(855) 826-4464

OR

Have us call you:

(877) 746-0480

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Additional calls will also be forwarded and returned by one of our treatment partners below.

All calls are private and confidential. Find out more about Addiction Center.

A treatment facility paid to have their center promoted here. Learn more about how to be featured in a paid listing.