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  • Jennifer Betz

Will Using Medical Marijuana Make You Less Intelligent? Effects of Cannabis On the Brain

does marijuana help you think?

Medical marijuana may not make you a genius, but we think giving it a try is a pretty smart choice.

Cannabis is recognized in the majority of US states as a legitimate medicine, yet some patients are concerned that treating their qualifying conditions and symptoms with medical marijuana may cause them to lose their intelligence.

While this concern is completely understandable, it is rooted in propaganda that came out in the 1930s, with “newsreel” style footage like Reefer Madness inciting outrage and near panic over “the Devil’s lettuce.”

That mentality continued for decades, through total Federal prohibition, the War on Drugs declared by Richard Nixon, and the famous 1987 public service announcement from Partnership For a Drug Free America, This is Your Brain on Drugs.

Fortunately, policies and public opinions have evolved over the last century. Clearer heads (and better information) prevail. More recent studies indicate that cannabis is probably not damaging to your cognitive abilities, and it may even improve your executive functioning and ability to learn new things.

However, the notion that cannabis might kill off one too many brain cells is a hard one to shake. Most adults still hear an egg crack and sizzle when someone mentions, “your brain on drugs.”

In this post, we’re going to take a look at why this video may be a more accurate portrayal of what happens in your brain when you use medical marijuana.

Cannabis Helps You Feel Better, Which Helps You Think Better

We’ve all been there. After a night (or several) of sleep deprivation, we struggle to think, make decisions, or even avoid snapping at anyone who makes too much noise in the office breakroom.

When you feel poorly, you think poorly.

But cannabis can help you feel better all around. It is great for insomnia; and anxiety and PTSD are on the list of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana treatment in Virginia. Additionally, medical marijuana is a favored treatment for symptoms of neurological diseases including Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, ALS, Tourette's and Alzheimer’s disease.

Why is Cannabis Good for So Many Different Things?

Cannabis is good for so many different symptoms and conditions, and it is soothing to the nervous system, because of the way it interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a network of neuroreceptors and transmitters that work together to restore homeostasis when there are internal a*nd external changes. So it’s no wonder the ECS is also called The Universal Regulator.

Some experts now believe that a malfunctioning ECS is a root of all disorder in the brain and body, and this is where cannabis comes in. Cannabis helps support ECS health and function, which is why THC and CBD seem to be good for a little bit of everything. And the fact that cannabis is good for a little bit of everything makes it an excellent choice to support your brain health as well.

Brain Benefit #1: Cannabis Helps You Get Better Sleep

We’ve all been there. A night (or several) of sleep deprivation can upend your entire day. It may even shorten your life by causing accidents when your brain goes into microsleep mode.

At minimum, when we don’t get enough sleep, we end up feeling grumpy and irritable, having a harder time making decisions, and performing poorly on cognitive tasks. If you are constantly sleep-deprived, you may not even notice until large portions of your life have been affected.

Many medical marijuana patients cite getting a better night’s sleep as their top reason for using cannabis. It can reduce pain and inflammation and calm those nerves that keep you tossing and turning throughout the night.

When you use medical marijuana to help you fall asleep and stay asleep, your brain is getting the rest it need in order to recover and repair, and you’ll start to notice a difference in your alertness and mood pretty quickly.

Brain Benefit #2: Lower Anxiety

Anxiety washes your brain in fight or flight hormones that can literally shrink your brain. And let’s face it—who isn’t anxious these days? With isolation and pandemic life dragging on and on, it’s difficult to relax and slow down that anxious monkey mind.

Anxiety symptoms include:

  • Accelerated heart rate

  • Irritability

  • Restlessness

  • Exhaustion

  • Constipation

  • Nausea

  • Loss of appetite

  • Difficulty making decisions

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Insomnia

And the list goes on and on.

While certain strains of cannabis (especially those higher in THC) may exacerbate your anxiety, cannabis can help reduce or eliminate it for some. If you are looking to use medical marijuana to reduce your anxiety, then we suggest starting with very low doses and increasing them slowly, using a strain that is high in CBD, and avoiding sativas until you know how cannabis affects your perception of stress.

Brain Benefit #3: Cannabis May Help You Be More Physically Fit

When you get moving, you increase your brain’s neuroplasticity. Additionally, better gut health has recently been linked to clearer thinking.

Medical marijuana is not going to automatically make you buff and healthy, but it can certainly support you in this endeavor. Several studies have indicated that people who use cannabis are generally more fit and less obese.

One theory about why this is the case involves the fact that cannabis can help you feel better all around, moving with less pain, and making healthier decisions. Which in turn, helps you feel better.

Brain Benefit #4: Balanced Hormones

Whether you are a man with a thyroid problem or a woman with painful periods, hormone imbalances can throw a person off their game like a speeding train. You might find yourself feeling moody, or you may be having a hard time even thinking.

CBD may help balance your hormones, through supporting your ECS. Cannabis may improve insulin levels, lower cortisol levels, and help women get through their periods with less pain, bloating and anxiety.

Medical Marijuana May Support Brain Health, and We Can Help!

We aren’t saying that medical marijuana is going to make you a genius overnight. But cannabis has proven to support brain health and support neuroplasticity. If you are trying to decide if medical marijuana is right for you, our health experts can help!

Give us a call at (888) 633-5808 to talk to one of our patient support representatives, or schedule an appointment with a medical marijuana recommendation provider today!


Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.

At Virginia Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to MMJ. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

Call us at (888) 633-5808, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!

Check out Virginia Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Virginia!

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