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What Does Marijuana Do to the Brain?

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Updated September 17, 2013

Question: What Does Marijuana Do to the Brain?
Answer: Some studies show that when people have smoked large amounts of marijuana for years, the drug takes its toll on mental functions.

Heavy or daily use of marijuana affects the parts of the brain that control memory, attention, and learning. A working short-term memory is needed to learn and perform tasks that call for more than one or two steps.

Smoking marijuana causes some changes in the brain that are like those caused by cocaine, heroin, and alcohol. Some researchers believe that these changes may put a person more at risk of becoming addicted to other drugs, such as cocaine or heroin. Scientists are still learning about the many ways that marijuana could affect the brain.

Back to: Marijuana FAQ for Kids

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