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Documentation on Psychoactive Drugs – Marijuana

Documentation on Psychoactive Drugs – Marijuana

Psychoactive drugs are drugs or substances that, when taken, have the capacity to affect and influence mental processes. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies psychoactive drugs into categories or schedules I to V based on the drug’s chemical composition, medical use, effects, associated risks, potential for dependency potential, and medical use. Drugs under Schedule I are noted to have a higher potential for abuse, effects, and risks, with no acceptable medical use within the United States. Marijuana (cannabis) is a psychoactive drug that has a long history of use across different societies. The DEA lists marijuana as a Schedule I drug. Marijuana is currently being legalized in various states across the United States, which has actually increased use, especially among youth and young adults (Mauro et al., 2019). This paper discusses the effects of marijuana use on emotions, brain functions, internal organs, and perception, as well as the methods of intake of marijuana, associated risks, and withdrawal symptoms. The paper will also discuss the available treatment resources in Huntington Beach, California, treatment models, the efficacy of the resources, as well as the potential neurotherapy options for treatment.

Aspects of Marijuana’s Impact on Users

Impact on Emotions

Marijuana use has potential impacts on emotional regulation. Although the regulation of emotions is a complex process influenced by an individual’s environment, mental and physical health status, and other socioeconomic factors, the use of marijuana has the potential to alleviate and exacerbate the emotional states of the users. Once taken into the system, marijuana interacts with the user’s endocannabinoid system, the biological system that regulates an individual’s moment-to-moment functioning aspects such as their sleep mood and emotional states, appetite, cognitive processing speed, working memory, and reproduction and fertility, and influences the overall functioning of the central nervous system (Zou & Kumar, 2018). A study by Woelfl et al. (2020) suggests that active compounds in marijuana, such as cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) via the cannabinoid receptors within the CNS interact with the endocannabinoid system with varied effects on emotion excitability, cognition, and attention. Woelfl et al. (2020) further report that although the effects of marijuana on emotion depend on the administered dose, the use of marijuana alleviates or exacerbates the users’ moods and general experience of euphoria. Additionally, marijuana use has significant effects, including a notable reduction in depression, anxiety, and stress, even with the slightest THC doses (Cuttler et al., 2018). However, marijuana use can exacerbate anxiety, paranoia, and depressiveness, as well as impact attention, judgment, and coordination (Woelfl et al., 2020).

Impact on Brain Function

The active compound in marijuana, THC, as noted, binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain with a significant impact on CNS and general brain function (Zou & Kumar, 2018). Arguably, Sagar and Gruber (2018) note that chronic marijuana use is associated with changes in brain structure, including reductions in gray matter volume in the brain regions of the hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex, which are essential in functions such as memory development, learning, emotion regulation, and decision-making. This means that marijuana use affects overall brain function, which impairs cognition, including attention, memory, and learning. The study by Woelfl et al. (2020), based on a comparison of the cognitive performance of individuals administered with a THC/CBD placebo and those administered with THC/CBD doses, concluded that CBD had a negative influence on cognitive processing speed and attention. Similarly, as marijuana use causes notable structural changes, it has a negative effect on executive functions, including the ability to plan, organize, make decisions, and control the user’s behavior, both in the short-term and long-term (Sagar & Gruber, 2018). However, CBD is linked to the improvement of working memory performance during use (Woelfl et al., 2020).

Impact on Internal Organs

Marijuana use impacts various internal organs in a number of ways. The majorly affected internal organs are the lungs, heart, and brain. Marijuana use can cause damage to these organs, leading to multiple health problems. For instance, direct smoking or vaping of marijuana causes irritation and potential inflammation of the lungs, which potentially harms the lungs. Inflammation-aided damage to the lungs increases the risk of developing bronchitis and other respiratory problems, with long-term use, especially through smoking, increasing the risk of developing lung cancer. Although THC and CBD are majorly argued to possess potential anti-inflammatory effects, recent animal studies show that continued exposure to cannabis smoke causes alterations in respiratory health with a notable decrease in the percentage of lung alveolar macrophages but increased lung interstitial macrophages (IMs), as well as higher presence of several immune mediators which lead to lung inflammation and damage (Haidar et al., 2023).

Marijuana use also has an effect on the heart functioning. Smoking or taking marijuana in any form determines the THC/CBD dosage, with an impact on heart rate and blood pressure. The case reports related to the use of marijuana have associated marijuana with negative cardiovascular outcomes in healthy young and older individuals, such as myocardial infarction, cardiac arrhythmia, cardiomyopathies, stroke, and arteritis (Latif & Garg, 2020). Marijuana availability in the blood is also associated with the activation of transient receptor potential ankyrin type 1 (TRPA1) ion channels influencing vasodilation of blood vessels, thereby putting strain on the heart and risking increased fluid retention (Singh et al., 2018). The effects of THC on blood pressure are also noted to increase the risk of heart attacks in people living with underlying heart disease. Notably, as THC/CBD is associated with alterations of the brain structure, it risks damage to critical regions of the brain, such as the hippocampus, with a negative effect on cognition, learning, and the development and preservation of memories (Sagar & Gruber, 2018).

Impact on Perception

The active components of marijuana, THC and CBD, have the potential to alter perception in multiple ways. THC and CBD interact with regions of the brain that are responsible for signalling and processing sensations and perception (Zou & Kumar, 2018). Notably, marijuana use can improve the perception of sensations as well as creativity in some users, while in others, marijuana can distort reality, leading to a loss in the interpretation of time and space and hallucinations (Woelfl et al., 2020). A more notable effect of marijuana is its enhancement of sensory perception. Minor noises or light may seem more intense to a person who has administered high doses of marijuana. As marijuana has a perceived significant negative effect (Cuttler et al., 2018), it can create a fake sense of happiness and ignore actual mental and emotional status.

Methods of Marijuana Intake

There are multiple methods of marijuana intake. The method of intake is based on the nature of the marijuana product consumed, the purpose of intake, and the intended outcomes. The major methods of marijuana intake are inhalation, oral intake, topical application, and direct consumption of marijuana plant parts (Schauer et al., 2020).

Marijuana Intake through Inhalation

Inhalation of marijuana includes the administration of the active marijuana compounds to the bloodstream via the lungs with the expectation of quick and instant effects. The common methods of using marijuana as an inhalant are through smoking and vaping. Intake of marijuana through smoking is the most common method of administering THC/CBD, which involves direct combustion of the marijuana product and inhaling the smoke using pipes, water pipes such as bongs and bubblers, joints, and blunts. Vaping, on the other hand, involves heating the marijuana product to vaporize THC or other active compounds and then inhaling the marijuana vapor using vaporizers, vape pens, and dapping.

Oral Marijuana Intake

Marijuana can be taken orally, either as edibles or through tinctures. Oral intake of marijuana is aimed at achieving a longer and more intense experience. Edibles may include baked products such as cookies, cakes, and foods, as well as gums and sweets mixed with either CBD or THC or both (Schauer et al., 2020). Tinctures can be taken sublingually or ingested.

Marijuana Intake through Topical Application

Marijuana products can be mixed with topical application products such as creams, lubes, and transdermal patches for pain management or to achieve the desired psychoactive experiences, including sensual experiences.

Marijuana Intake through Direct Consumption

For some users, marijuana can be dried and used as tea. Others can eat cannabis products by spreading the dried and crushed leaves and flowers into foods.

Risks Associated with Methods of Intake

The various methods of marijuana intake pose various risks. For instance, the intake of marijuana through inhalation, whether smoking or vaping, is associated with the risk of developing lung and other respiratory problems (Bracken-Clarke et al., 2021). Intake of marijuana through smoking has the most effects, with smoking being associated with the risk of damage to the lungs and the development of respiratory problems (Haidar et al., 2023). Vaping marijuana risks developing both respiratory and cardiovascular problems. In addition, vaping causes higher concentrations of THC and even greater psychoactive effects than smoking, which may prolong the distortion of reality, loss of attention and concentration, as well as increase the risk of cardiovascular issues such as high blood pressure and seizures. Additionally, oral intake of marijuana, either as edibles, tinctures, or tea, creates longer and more intense effects, which may lead to prolonged experiences, including distortion of perception and prolonged euphoria with significant influence on usage and user behaviors. It also makes it hard to control THC/CBD dosage, risking overconsumption and adverse effects. Of concern is that the current trends in the intake of marijuana, either through vaping, smoking, or use of edibles, have shown a risk of graduation to problematic substance use (Keyes et al., 2022).

Withdrawal Symptoms and Medical Complications of Withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms and risk of medical complications associated with withdrawal from marijuana vary from person to person based on sociodemographic factors, duration of use, frequency of use, and the levels of dependency established (Coughlin et al., 2021). Withdrawal symptoms and risk of associated complications may range from mild to severe and are experienced in all users, whether used for medical or recreational purposes. The common withdrawal symptoms include the user growing anxious, easily irritable, aggressive, sleepiness or lack of sleep, nightmares, daydreaming, depressed mood, and loss of appetite (Connor et al., 2022). In cases of uncontrolled dosage and polysubstance use, withdrawal from marijuana risks the development of severe medical conditions such as seizures, psychosis, and suicide ideations. The risk of developing severe withdrawal symptoms and medical complications is higher in young users and may worsen with time (Coughlin et al., 2021).

Treatment Resources in Huntington Beach, CA

Huntington Beach, California (CA), has multiple treatment resources for marijuana and other substance abuse problems. Three top resources in Huntington Beach, CA, include the South Coast Behavioral Health in Huntington, CA, the Pillars Recovery Detox and Residential Program, and the Sober Partners Network. To begin with, South Coast Behavioral Health provides California Addiction Treatment Centers, which provide medical and behavioural therapies under residential, partial hospitalization, and outpatient walk-in programs. Second, the Pillars Recovery Detox and Residential Program provides medical-assisted rehabilitation services combined with behavioural therapy, medication, and professional and community support for all types of addictions. Lastly, Sober Partners Network adopts a customized treatment plan for each patient. Addiction treatment begins with detoxification and is then integrated with other behavioural approaches, such as vows to commit to healthy living, diet, activity, mindfulness, and sleep, as well as peer-led recovery and support groups.

Efficacy of Model of Treatment

The efficacy of treatment models for marijuana and substance addictions may vary across individuals. However, the models of treatment employed in the treatment centres within Huntington, CA, such as medical-assisted detox, behavioural therapy, use of diet, physical activity, mindfulness, sleep therapy, and peer support groups, are backed by substantial evidence. For instance, access to peer support and psychosocial education combined with cognitive behavioural therapy, meditation, and physical exercises have been found to effectively address concerns with alcohol and substance use, including marijuana (Moskal et al., 2021). Evidence also shows that treatments promoting physical activities, nutrition, and better sleep improve mental health and well-being among youths with significant dependency on marijuana and other drugs (Hosker et al., 2019). Therefore, the treatment models applied in the treatment resources available in Huntington, CA, are considerably effective in managing marijuana addictions and improving recovery.

Electroencephalography (EEG) Biofeedback as a Potential Neuro-Centric Therapy for Marijuana Use

Noting that marijuana directly influences brain functions, treatment therapies should focus on managing the psychoactive effects of THC/CBD on the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. In the long run, this restructures the brain, including the regulation of its reward systems and processes. EEG biofeedback is a real-time brain activity signal measurement, with real-time data processing providing feedback details on parameters of interest (Omejc et al., 2019). Such details can help identify brain functions influencing certain unwanted behaviours, such as the need to use marijuana. The details can also enable the individual and the therapist to develop approaches that enable the individual to gain more control over the neurophysiological activities and introduce gradual changes in brain functioning and, eventually, their behaviour.


Despite the speculations that marijuana may have potential therapeutic benefits, it still remains classified as a Schedule I psychoactive drug. Marijuana has the potential to influence neurophysiological activities and emotional processes due to its direct activity at the cannabinoid receptors and influence on the endocannabinoid system. In addition, marijuana use has a significant negative impact on the brain and other internal organs, such as the lungs and the heart, which risks the development of behavioural, cognitive, and emotional complications, as well as physical health issues such as seizures, lung cancer, and myocardial infarction. Despite the availability of resources and programs for treatment, the multi-modal use of marijuana makes it hard to regulate and control its usage. The therapeutic potential and legalization of marijuana do not take away its potential mental and physical effects on the users, and care should be taken when consuming related products.


Bracken-Clarke, D., Kapoor, D., Baird, A. M., Buchanan, P. J., Gately, K., Cuffe, S., & Finn, S. P. (2021). Vaping and lung cancer – A review of current data and recommendations. Lung Cancer, 153, 11–20.

Connor, J. P., Stjepanović, D., Budney, A. J., Le Foll, B., & Hall, W. D. (2022). Clinical management of cannabis withdrawal. Addiction (Abingdon, England), 117(7), 2075.

Coughlin, L. N., Ilgen, M. A., Jannausch, M., Walton, M. A., & Bohnert, K. M. (2021). Progression of cannabis withdrawal symptoms in people using medical cannabis for chronic pain. Addiction (Abingdon, England), 116(8), 2067.

Cuttler, C., Spradlin, A., & McLaughlin, R. J. (2018). A naturalistic examination of the perceived effects of cannabis on negative affect. Journal of Affective Disorders, 235, 198–205.

Haidar, Z., Traboulsi, H., Eidelman, D. H., & Baglole, C. J. (2023). Differential inflammatory profile in the lungs of mice exposed to cannabis smoke with varying THC:CBD ratio. Archives of Toxicology, 97(7), 1963–1978.

Hosker, D. K., Elkins, R. M., & Potter, M. P. (2019). Promoting mental health and wellness in youth through physical activity, nutrition, and sleep. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 28(2), 171–193.

Keyes, K. M., Kreski, N. T., Ankrum, H., Cerdá, M., Chen, Q., Hasin, D. S., Martins, S. S., Olfson, M., & Miech, R. (2022). Frequency of adolescent cannabis smoking and vaping in the United States: Trends, disparities and concurrent substance use, 2017–19. Addiction, 117(8), 2316–2324.

Latif, Z., & Garg, N. (2020). The impact of marijuana on the cardiovascular system: A review of the most common cardiovascular events associated with marijuana use. Journal of Clinical Medicine 2020, Vol. 9, Page 1925, 9(6), 1925.

Mauro, C. M., Newswanger, P., Santaella-Tenorio, J., Mauro, P. M., Carliner, H., & Martins, S. S. (2019). Impact of medical marijuana laws on state-level marijuana use by age and gender, 2004–2013. Prevention Science, 20(2), 205–214.

Moskal, D., Whitaker, H., Bernstein, J. F., Maisto, S. A., & Connors, G. J. (2021). Evaluation of a web-based psychosocial education and peer support program for alcohol use concerns. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 39(3), 366–382.

Omejc, N., Rojc, B., Battaglini, P. P., & Marusic, U. (2019). Review of the therapeutic neurofeedback method using electroencephalography: EEG neurofeedback. Bosnian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences, 19(3), 213.

Sagar, K. A., & Gruber, S. A. (2018). Marijuana matters: Reviewing the impact of marijuana on cognition, brain structure and function, & exploring policy implications and barriers to research. International Review of Psychiatry, 30(3), 251–267.

Schauer, G. L., Njai, R., & Grant-Lenzy, A. M. (2020). Modes of marijuana use – smoking, vaping, eating, and dabbing: Results from the 2016 BRFSS in 12 States. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 209, 107900.

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Documentation on Psychoactive Drugs - Marijuana

Documentation on Psychoactive Drugs – Marijuana

Rapid development in the substance use disorder field from neuro-centric research provides students with the opportunity and responsibility to re-examine their understanding of this field.

Pick one of the psychoactive drugs from the drug classification mentioned earlier in the course. The psychoactive drug chosen will need to be researched in the professional literature. The research needs to use peer-reviewed literature. The information needs to be cited in the body of the paper, and the full reference will be provided in a separate section at the end titled “References.”

The paper will look at all aspects of the chosen drug’s impact on the person. How it impacts emotions, brain functions, internal organs, and perception should be included. The methods of intake and any associated risks with those methods of intake need to be covered. Any withdrawal symptoms and/or medical complications of withdrawal.

Additionally, describe three resources in your community that provide treatment for the subject drug and the treatment model used. Please describe your understanding of the program’s efficacy.

The paper should hypothesize an appropriate neuro-centric perspective, including Neurotherapy options that have a foundation in the literature.

The paper will be written using the APA (American Psychological Association) Format version 7. For a detailed description of this format, see the course documents.

Length: This assignment must be 6-8 pages (excluding the title and reference page).

References: Include 3-5 scholarly resources from the university library. You are encouraged to include reliable external resources in addition to the scholarly sources.

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