NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse
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Marijuana

Marijuana

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Marijuana Leaf

Question 1

Tetrahydrocannabinol is:

No. Despite its technical sounding name, this chemical has no ties to the gasoline we use in cars. Try again!

Yes! Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC for short, is the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

No. Although it can act at the same receptors as the brain's neurotransmitter anadamide, tetrahydrocannabinl itself is not a neurotransmitter.

No. Don't confuse this chemical with the dinosaur Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Question 2

The hippocampus is:

Yes! The hippocampus is one of the places in the brain that helps us remember important things such as the information we need to pass an upcoming biology quiz. Because the hippocampus has lots of receptors for tetrahydrocannibinol, the active ingredient in marijuana, marijuana is able to act in the hippocampus to reduce memory.

No. Though it might sound like a cool hangout place for hippos, remember the hippocampus is one of our brain areas that actually help us to remember.

No. There are many brain areas that have a role in hearing, some of which are affected by marijuana, but the hippocampus is not one of them.

No. The liver plays an important role in the breakdown of all drugs that enter the body, but it does not have a hippocampus.

Question 3

A person who has smoked marijuana may have difficulty keeping his or her balance because of marijuana’s effect on what brain area?

No. But through its actions in the cerebral cortex, marijuana can change a user's sense of smell, vision, hearing, taste, and touch.

No. But marijuana does act in the limbic system to produce feelings of euphoria.

No. But users of marijuana may have trouble remembering things because of marijuana's effects on the hippocampus.

Yes! The cerebellum is one of the most important brain areas for balance and coordination. It also contains lots of receptors for tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana, which is why someone who uses marijuana may have difficulty keeping his or her balance.

Question 4

A student who smokes marijuana may do poorly on a test given the next day because of marijuana’s effect on what brain area?

No. But marijuana does act in the limbic system to produce feelings of euphoria.

Yes! The hippocampus is an important brain area for processing memory. Users of marijuana have trouble remembering things because of marijuana's effects on the hippocampus.

No. But users of marijuana may have problems with balance and coordination because of marijuana's effects in the cerebellum.

No. But through it's actions in the cerebral cortex, marijuana can change a user's sense of smell, vision, hearing, taste, and touch.