Behavioral Effects – Marijuana

Behavioral effects of marijuana could vary drastically depending on the type of smoker you are, the dose you take, and the environment that is surrounding you. With all these factors in mind, how is it possible to coin specific behaviors associated with marijuana use?

Infrequent users usually tend to report more intense subjective effects as compared to frequent users, due to tolerance levels. These effects include feelings such as euphoria and calmness, which lead to the common terms of feeling “stoned” or “high.” However, due to infrequent users also having a lower tolerance level, negative effects could also occur, which include paranoia and hallucinations. These effects are usually due to the high THC concentrations that are ingested or smoked (Hart & Ksir 2013).

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According to Kelly et al. 1990, dimensions of human behavior differ due to each person’s sensitivity to marijuana, therefore everybody experiences a totally different high. By studying human behavior after taking marijuana, doses could be determined, specifically for each person (Kelly et al. 1990). However, marijuana is also highly associated with social factors, so depending on the atmosphere a person is in, and his or her personality, his or her experience could be completely altered.

Behavioral effects from marijuana use could include (Hart & Ksir 2013; “National Institute of Drug Abuse” 2016):

    • Euphoria, high, mellowness, change of mood
    • Altered senses
    • Altered sense of time
    • Hunger stimulation (“munchies”)
    • Decrease in nausea
    • Paranoia, anxiety, panic reaction
    • Increased heart rate (no health links of being related directly to marijuana use)
    • Slowed cognitive processing
    • Impaired short-term memory
    • Disrupted visuospatial processing
    • Loss of concentration
    • Increase in nonverbal social interaction and decrease in verbal exchanges
    • Lack of motivation
    • Reddening of the eyes
    • Dryness of the mouth and throat

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Although there are no directly related health issues to heavy marijuana use, studies have demonstrated residual decrements in neurocognitive and neuropsychological effects lasting for a few weeks even after abstinence of the drug (Bolla et al. 2002; Pope & Yurgelun-Todd 1996; Todd et al. 2001).

People have also reported withdrawal symptoms from marijuana intake, which include (Hart & Ksir 2013; “National Institute of Drug Abuse” 2016):

      • Negative mood states (grouchiness, anxiety, depression, restlessness, irritability)
      • Disrupted sleep
      • Decreased appetite
      • Cravings
      • Aggressive behavior

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Written and Research Conducted by: Rosa Bartoletti