Weed has significant mind altering effects that might increase your comfort or discomfort with certain activities. If your brain is fully developed by the time you start smoking cannabis (so, if you are at least 25 years old by the time you start smoking cannabis), it is likely have very little impact on your personality, if any. If you are a teenager, however, smoking cannabis can have serious impacts on your developing brain.
How does cannabis affect your brain?
Cannabis has many cannabinoids, though the two most well known are THC and CBD. THC is the cannabinoid that produces the mind altering effects, whereas CBD is known more for management of pain or seizure disorders. There are other cannabinoids, but the two that we have studied the most up to this point in time are THC and CBD.
Cannabinoids interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system, interfering with or changing the homeostasis of your body, including your brain. The result that this has on your brain in the short and medium term is: reduction in memory, slowed processing times for complicated topics, increased creativity, greater enjoyment of tasks, possible paranoia, and many more.
Can smoking weed when you’re a teenager affect your brain?
A quarter of Canadians aged 15-24 use cannabis each year. Most people believe that cannabis is safe – and they’re mostly right! The problem is, there are a few specific risks for people under the age of 25. The brain is not fully developed until around the age of 25, so early and regular cannabis use can hurt the brain’s pre-frontal cortex, which can impair memory, decision making, and problem solving.
Cannabis use in teens is also correlated to lower grades and school attendance. Regular cannabis use before your brain is fully developed is also linked to depression and anxiety and (for a small portion of the population) psychosis. This is especially true among those who have a parent or sibling who has experienced a mental illness such as schizophrenia.
Can cannabis affect your mental health?
Depression is when individuals show persistent feelings of sadness, depressed mood, loss of interest and energy, amongst a variety of other symptoms. Many cannabis users use cannabis in order to medicate their depression. Studies show, however, a potential association between depression and cannabis use. The psychoactive component of cannabis, THC, acts on parts of the brain responsible for regulation of emotions. Because of this association, it’s possible that heavy cannabis use is associated with an increased risk for developing depressive disorders.
However, the link between cannabis use and depression is not as strong as the link between cannabis use and anxiety. This most often resembles a panic attack in people who are not regular users of cannabis, but it can also worsen existing anxiety even in chronic users. The effects of cannabis are dose-dependent, and the amount used plays an important role in the symptoms which manifest.
Can cannabis cause mental health disorders?
If someone with a perfectly healthy brain, who has no personal or family history of mental health disorders smokes weed, there is absolutely no reason to believe that cannabis would cause a mental health disorder in this individual. It is important to remember though, that cannabis is capable of exacerbating existing mental health conditions, especially if there is family history. But unlike the war on drugs rhetoric would have you believe, your brain on drugs is not an egg in a frying pan. If you smoke cannabis, you’re most likely to have a good time, want to eat a bit more food than normal, and probably get to sleep quite easily.
Should I smoke weed if I have schizophrenia or bipolar disorder?
This website is no substitute for medical advice, and it’s extremely important for you to speak to your doctor about any drugs you plan to use if you have or experience these mental health disorders. Medicinal cannabis can be good for many things, but it does not have a negligible impact on your brain, so you should be careful when you have extra considerations to make.
Anecdotally, most people who have BP or schizophrenia experience an increase or worsening of symptoms when they smoke cannabis, especially copious amounts. Your health should come before everything else, so please consider if you truly need to smoke cannabis if you are in this situation.
Does weed have a positive effect on your personality?
This entirely depends from person to person. Some people might feel more comfortable in their skin when they smoke cannabis, which might lead to them seeking out more social situations in a more confident manner than they otherwise might. Others find that smoking weed makes them feel socially self-conscious, and they prefer to smoke weed in a solo situation. You’ll have to experiment to figure out what feels right to you.
The bottom line is that cannabis does not have only positive impacts on your personality. However, if you have no underlying mental health conditions, there isn’t reason to believe that it will negatively impact your life in a significant way.