Marijuana is the common term for cannabis that is derived from the plant Cannabis sativa. This plan has hundreds of chemicals in it called cannabinoids. The two main cannabinoids in the cannabis plant that we’ve studies are Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC and cannabidiol or CBD. THC has mind altering properties and CBD does not.
The reason cannabis has an effect in the body is that cannabinoids are neurotransmitters or chemicals that affect the activities of nerves. We make our own cannabinoids called the endocannabinoid system. The two endocannabinoids are anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol.
Castillo PE, Younts TJ, Chávez AE, Hashimotodani Y. Endocannabinoid signaling and synaptic function. Neuron. 2012;76(1):70-81. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2012.09.020.
Hillard CJ, Beatka M, Sarvaideo J. Endocannabinoid Signaling and the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis. Comprehensive Physiology. 2016;7(1):1-15. doi:10.1002/cphy.c160005.
Adolescent use and lower IQ
Meier MH et al, Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2012;109(40):E2657–E2664
Increased risk of psychosis in people already at risk of psychosis
Nehal P. Vadhan, Cheryl M. Corcoran, Gill Bedi, John G. Keilp, Margaret Haney. Acute effects of smoked marijuana in marijuana smokers at clinical high-risk for psychosis: A preliminary study. Psychiatry Research, 2017; 257: 372
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