The Abstract Podcast

How marijuana really affects the brain

In this episode, we discuss the impact of weed on the developing brain and the long-term effects on our overall behavior.

Originally Published: 
Human brain and cannabis leaf.

The mood altering effects of marijuana are no mystery — If that empty pizza box and prolonged, uncontrollable laughter at the latest TikTok video are any indication.

As for what’s going on in your brain? Research remains inconclusive.

However, with recreational marijuana use on the rise, researchers are discovering more about its impact on cognition and brain function. Learning about how the brain processes the chemicals in marijuana can offer new insight about how long-term use changes how we behave, and teach us how to minimize some scary marijuana-related mental health risks.

From its neurobiological effects on a developing mind to its impact on our social motivations after long-term use, the latest research reveals there’s still a lot we don’t understand about how marijuana really affects the human brain.

But scientists are racing to change that.

In this episode of The Abstract, we discuss the impact of weed on the developing brain and the long-term effects on our overall behavior.

Our first story is about how pinpointing the ideal smoking age for marijuana can minimize potential long-term impacts on the brain. The latest research suggests that, from a scientific perspective, the minimum age for smoking weed should be around 19 years old, and that pushing the age limit back even further may help protect developing brains.

Our second story is about how long-term marijuana use can lead to social isolation. With a study revealing new details about how THC affects cannabinoid receptors in the brain, researchers have gained key insight into its impact on our overall behavior and motivations.

Read the original Inverse stories:

Where to find us:

Right now, facts and science matter more than ever. That's part of the reason for The Abstract, this all-new podcast from the Inverse staff that focuses exclusively on science and innovation. Three new episodes are released a week, and each covers one theme via two related stories. Each features audio of original Inverse reporting, where the facts and context take center stage. It's hosted by the Tanya Bustos of WSJ Podcasts. Because we're Inverse, it's all true but slightly off-kilter. It's made for people who want to know the whole story. Nick Lucchesi, executive editor, Inverse

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