We remain open and committed to providing services for our clients. For more information on our Coronavirus (COVID-19) procedures, Click Here

Does weed permanently damage your brain?

Home » Blog » Does weed permanently damage your brain?

Marijuana use can cause brain damage and other symptoms. In addition, some brain effects of heavy Marijuana use may not be reversed.

What Does Marijuana Do to the Brain?

Many people are now curious about how Marijuana affects their brains and whether it causes brain cell death. Long-term Marijuana use can lead to irreversible brain damage. This is similar to years of heavy alcohol, Meth, and Heroin abuse. In addition, the brain can be damaged by Marijuana, which can lead to various symptoms throughout the body.

Marijuana components bind to specific receptors in your brain, just like other drugs. For example, Tetrahydrocannabinol, The primary psychoactive ingredient in Marijuana, attaches to the brain’s Cannabinoid-receptor type 1 (or CB1). These receptors are connected to brain nerves that control memory, appetite, pain regulation, mood, and mood.

People who smoke Marijuana may experience difficulties with concentration and recalling details. This problem can get worse if Marijuana is used for a long time. The drug can also affect motor skills. High-functioning users can put their lives at risk by driving while high.

Scientists are still not sure of the long-term effects that Marijuana can have on the brain. However, they have found a link between marijuana use during brain development and a lower IQ later in life. Exposure to THC as a child can cause cognitive and memory changes that can last decades. Adults who use Marijuana in adulthood have received less research.

Synthetic Marijuana’s Brain Effect

Although synthetic Marijuana isn’t safe for humans, it has gained popularity in recent years. It is also known as “Fake Weed” and can have mind-altering effects that cause individuals to behave strangely. Synthetic Marijuana can be illegal. It may contain toxic ingredients that can increase heart rate and cause bleeding or vomiting.

Synthetic Marijuana acts in the same way as Marijuana by attaching to the Cannabinoid Receptor Type 1 (CB1) located in the central and peripheral nervous system. Synthetic Marijuana is more potent than THC because it binds to CB1 receptors. Side effects of CB1 receptors can be severe and even fatal because they are located in multiple places in the brain.

The brain and body may experience synthetic Marijuana.

  • Memory loss
  • Seizures
  • Psychosis
  • Cardiac problems and respiratory issues
  • Stroke
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Emotional altered perception
  • Violent behavior
  • Brain and kidney damage

Synthetic Marijuana may cause addiction in addition to the symptoms listed above. Chronic addiction can lead to drug abuse and other dangerous behaviors. In addition, the brain’s activity will decline if you use Synthetic Marijuana for a long time. This is in addition to other negative physiological symptoms such as those listed above.

The Brain’s Short-term Effects of Marijuana Use

The brain’s immediate and short-term effects of Marijuana use include:

  • Difficulty judging distances
  • It is difficult to remember
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety

Marijuana can rarely trigger psychotic episodes that include hallucinations or delusions.

Long-term Effects of Marijuana Use on The Brain

The brain effects of long-term marijuana use are still being studied.

We know that long-term marijuana usage is associated with an increase in the risk of developing substance abuse disorders.

Long-term marijuana use can also affect memory, concentration, IQ, and other aspects of your brain.

It can also impact essential executive functions like problem-solving and decision-making.

These long-term effects can include, but are not limited to:

  • Some cognitive impairment
  • Some memory loss
  • Tolerance of Marijuana has increased
  • Marijuana dependence

How Marijuana Can Affect Cognition

Any long-term use of psychoactive substances can cause the potential for neurological impairment or imbalances. Marijuana is no exception. Many factors can affect the extent and nature of brain damage or other long-lasting effects.

  • Age
  • Frequency of usage
  • The strength of the dosage
  • Pre-existing mental illness, or genetic predisposition for mental illness

Although Marijuana is not as harmful as methamphetamine, alcohol, and cocaine, there are still undesirable cognitive side effects.

It shrinks your brain.

Over the last few decades, many studies have shown that chronic cannabis use has led to significant decreases in gray matter volume. Gray matter, the neuron-dense portion of our brain responsible for learning and other functions, is the subject of numerous studies over the past few decades. A particular study showed that heavy cannabis use could cause shrinkage in the amygdala and hippocampus parts of our brains, significantly impacting memory and learning.

It can lower your IQ

There is a  New Zealand study involving over 1000 teenagers. They took an IQ test at 13 and 38 and inquired about their drug habits. This study showed that people who used Marijuana more than four times per week had an average IQ decline of 8 points. This is the first study to show that marijuana use can cause intelligence loss. These results also show the importance of frequency regarding the possibility of side effects lasting or severe.

It can stunt brain development in young people.

No decrease in intelligence was seen among those who started smoking as adults rather than teens. Cognitively, adolescents with still-developing brains are at the most significant risk. However, Marijuana does not kill brain cells. Instead, it hinders brain development and puts young adults at risk for various cognitive deficits. (The human brain doesn’t fully develop until 25).

The smaller the brain size of a person who starts to use it, the more they will experience a reduction in their prefrontal cortex.

It can alter your perception of reality.

Too much or too little brain dopamine can lead to mental illness. Chronic users of Marijuana have lower levels of dopamine activity. This can lead to psychotic symptoms similar to schizophrenia, such as anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations. This is known as cannabinoid-induced psychosis. It makes it difficult to grasp reality and even impossible to remember. Additionally, the brain’s processing speed suffers from more significant dysfunction, negatively impacting cognition. Other studies showed that marijuana users of student age experienced slower processing speeds, lower verbal learning, and memory, as well as poorer sequencing abilities.

This phenomenon isn’t only for weed smokers. However, it does pose the most significant risk. These psychotic symptoms, also known as the “bad high,” affect approximately 15% of marijuana users. While most people experience these side effects only while intoxicated with Marijuana, some others become permanently afflicted and fall under the category of an actual drug-induced mental illness.

Get help today

Although Marijuana can calm individuals, it can also be dangerous when combined with other substances. It can be hard to quit using Marijuana. If you or someone you love is struggling to stop or are putting their lives at risk, treatment and detox may be necessary. The therapy removes triggers that can lead to relapse. 

Make a life-changing call now at 9099713333 or request a call back to get more information about treatment in our rehab. 

Is my treatment covered?

Your PPO insurance probably pays for all entire addiction treatment. Call now or enter your phone number to receive a call from us with a detailed explanation about your options to start your journey to recovery. It is a confidential, completely free conversation with our admission specialist.

You can break the chains of addiction with Hathaway Recovery!


  • Excellent treatment center. Hathaway put on the road to recovery, I been sober 2 years today! Thank you Dena and staff members!

    Mike M.
  • Hathaway has saved my family. Before we found Hathaway my daughter was suffering with addiction however once we came to this facility the staff took her in and she felt comfortable and by a couple months she was ready to come back home fully recovered. Thank you Hathaway Recovery for saving her and thank you for the wonderful staff.

    Gabby H.
  • First I’ll start by saying that, this facility is absolutely beautiful! A couple years ago my husband Tony attended Hathaway Recovery in Claremont Ca. While Tony was in residential he received every care needed for a successful recovery. Also, he was able to enjoy the home gym at the beautiful Hathaway home, it’s basketball court, pool and etc. which made his stay even more pleasant. I am forever grateful for the man Tony has become ever since his completion. He has two years clean under his belt and many more to come because of the amazing facility. Thanks again Hathaway Recovery and Staff, Keep Continuing Changing Lives, God Bless Diane and Tony

    Diane K.
  • I came to Hathaway Recovery on court orders stemming from charges due to not taking medications for my mental health. I was fearful of what my future held and what that would look like. I have never been to a dual diagnosis treatment program before, and I didn’t know what to expect. I really didn’t think I had a substance abuse problem but after about 3-4 weeks of group therapy and the counselors here at this facility, I finally realized substance abuse influenced me to not be able to take care of my mental health. With the help of Hathaway Recovery’s team, I was able to build a strong foundation for my recovery that is vital to me and my family. The clinical staff, therapist, case managers, and counselors included, were honest, caring, and really helped me gain the knowledge I needed to build this recovery program and lifestyle. I am forever grateful for the treatment at Hathaway Recovery.

    Transition A.
  • My brother has been addicted for years. All our family gave up on him. Recently, he completed an inpatient residential program at Hathaway Recovery. This place is blessed and so helpful. It’s very luxurious, you feel like you are on vacation at a beautiful resort. Hathaway Recovery staff is very helpful, understanding and supportive. They all helped him to recover and to become a human again and enjoy his life. This place also supports family members and teaches them how to deal with aftercare to prevent relapse. Hathaway Recovery is the place for those who are struggling with addiction. Thank you for everything!

    Beauty D.
  • As a Trauma Informed Therapist I was contracted by Dina , the Owner to provide additional Trauma Informed Counseling. She indicated that she was seeking additional clinical services because her client population were enthusiastic about their recovery and she wanted to provide quality care. Working with Hathaway has been magical. This program does not separate addiction and mental health trauma into separate treatments, This program blends together the understanding that addicts have childhood trauma and have habitually used drugs or alcohol to dull their inner pain., Hathaway Recovery provides highly individual services for each client, including bilingual counseling. This is a program that I am proud to be a part of. Susan Pennington, LCSW – Trauma Informed Counseling Services.

    Susan P.
  • Hathaway Recovery Center is the real deal. They helped me find myself when I was completely lost. After I lost the mother of my child due to a tragic accident. The therapists and counselors truly cared. We made a relationship with each other that was unbreakable. The other clients were awesome roommates and true to me. The house managers were great and the living situations were awesome. If I ever even think about slipping up I’ll be returning. Today I have over one year clean.

    Jimmie R.
  • After searching many rehabs and after spending so much money to useless facilities we finally found Hathaway . From the bottom of my heart I would like to thank all the staff and all the residents that made my sons recovery easier from beginning to end.

    Gayane A.
  • Hathaway truly saved my life. I am so grateful to have had an opportunity to go there. I came in at absolute rock bottom, 9 rehabs later and countless sober livings. I can tell you that this treatment center is different then every other one I’ve ever been to.

    Justin J.
  • After running into some trouble with the law, a substance abuse counselor suggested that I check myself into Hathaway Recovery. Hathaway Recovery helped me get my life back together one step at a time. Through discipline, routine, and structure, I can honestly say that this treatment center has helped me tremendously! The staff are very helpful and caring to each person’s needs, and helped me to realize the beauty of living a sober life.

    Josh M.
  • Hathaway Recovery stuff saw potential In me when I couldn’t. They showed me a new way of life, a better life. Coming to Hathaway recovery is the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m beyond grateful for everything the program has done for me!

    Gilberto F.
  • Finally, Hathaway is a Treatment Center that offers a holistic approach to addiction. This center offers a safe place, community and a network to grow with throughout your recovery process. They make you feel that you are NOT alone. The leadership has been in your shoes!!! Hathaway Recovery is more than just a temporary fix, it is a foundation, a movement, a family to be a part of.

    Anthony P.
  • One of the best places I have been too! They really know how to treat you and very professional!

    Ashley A.
  • Hathaway Recovery and their staff have been nothing but supportive and understanding throughout our family member’s journey. I truly appreciate all the staff and their hard work. The communication has been great and has provided us a really positive experience. I would highly recommend this facility to anyone looking for a rehabilitation center for themselves or a loved one. Thank you Hathaway Recovery!

    Lilit H.
  • Hathaway Recovery is a very solid, very friendly place. My boyfriend decided to go here and has spent a significant amount of time at the recovery house. They are very good at bringing clients to meetings and on fun outings occasionally! Hathaway is committed to their clients’ recovery and their sobriety and to helping them in any way possible. They go above and beyond for the clients and I definitely would recommend considering Hathaway for your sobriety/recovery.

  • Hathaway is a warm caring treatment oriented environment to receive help from various addictions and behavioral problematic issues. The location itself is serene and safe.. I enjoyed the both staff/professional’s and patient’s… It has many services available, a very unique place… I recommend anyone to come and receive long-term treatment here at Hathaway…

  • Hathaway Recovery is a very solid, very friendly place. My boyfriend decided to go here and has spent a significant amount of time at the recovery house. They are very good at bringing clients to meetings and on fun outings occasionally! Hathaway is committed to their clients’ recovery and their sobriety and to helping them in any way possible. They go above and beyond for the clients and I definitely would recommend considering Hathaway for your sobriety/recovery.

  • “There was no longer any doubt in my mind that I was in the right place for my drug abuse treatment, “Of all the rehabs I could have chosen, I am glad I picked The Hathaway Recovery Support hope respect and care is what i was offered thanks for everything Hathaway recovery you are the best

  • Hathaway Recovery is an awesome place the whole staff has been so helpful they are very professional and very nice Hathaway recovery is a great place to get your addiction treated my brother is doing very well there and we are so glad they were very understanding and willing to help him.

  • A very welcoming environment and kind hearted staff that really took care of my relative and cleaned him up. Thanks Hathaway recovery.

  • When your loved one is sick and needs help you look for the best and I found the best for my son thank you for everything you did for him.


    Hathaway Recovery is an exclusive addiction rehab treatment center in California offering healing recovery from all substances. We’re proud to provide a great combination for drug, alcohol, psychiatric and psychological recovery treatment backed by experts in the addiction treatment field. Our drug and alcohol rehab is built on the cornerstone of care and compassion and accommodates clients and their families from all backgrounds to educate, inform, and create change around substance use disorder. In a secluded mountain hill luxury resort, our facility offers a therapeutic environment and array of clinical modalities to help individuals and their families. Our staff are also multilingual to address the needs of clients from anywhere in the world.

    *100% Private & Fully Confidential form
    I authorize and consent to give permission to Hathaway Recovery to verify my personal data and Health Care Insurance benefits.
    I understand that I have the option to choose various methods of communication( text, email, chat, etc). and I can revoke this permission in writing at any time. I consent to the conditions and instructions outlined in this fully confidential form & privacy policy.


      Confidential Contact Form
      Call Hathaway 24/7 or fill out the 100% fully confidential contact form below to start your recovery
      Don’t Delay. Start Your Journey Now

      Copyright © 2022 Hathaway Recovery Center · Privacy Policy · Employment Opportunities

      Sitemap HTML | Sitemap XML


      24/7 Help Is Standing By, Call Us Now