Marijuana and the Biological Bases of Behavior Essay

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Marijuana and the Biological Bases of Behavior

Marijuana is the dried leaves and flowers of the hemp plant
Cannabis sativa. Like all plants, it's sensitive to the environment where it grows. Some of the names for it are Mary Jane, pot, weed, grass, herb, ganja or skunk. The brain has many responses to marijuana.
Marijuana can cause people to lose focus on events around them. For some it makes them more aware of their physical sensations. For others, there are numerous other effects. All forms of marijuana are mind- altering. All of the changes are caused by chemicals that affect the brain.
More than 400 chemicals are in the average marijuana plant. When smoked, heat produces even more chemicals. Different weather
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When a receptor receives information, it causes changes in the nerve cell.
The chemical in marijuana that has a big impact on the brain is called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). It is the main active chemical in marijuana. Scientists recently discovered that some areas in the brain have a lot of THC receptors, while other have very few or none. These clues are helping researchers figure out exactly how THC works in the brain. One region of the brain that contains a lot of THC receptors is the hippocampus, which processes memory. When THC attaches to receptors in the hippocampus, it weakens short-term memory.
The hippocampus also communicates with other brain regions that process new information into long-term memory. In the brain, under the influence of marijuana, new information may never register, and may be lost from memory.

In some people, marijuana can cause uncontrollable laughter one minute and paranoia the next. That's because THC also influences emotions, probably by acting on a region of the brain called the limbic system. THC can make something as simple as driving a car really dangerous. Some of THC's effects are useful in the world of medicine, like preventing nausea and blocking pain. The trick is for scientists to get these results without the harmful effects.

Researchers recently found out the brain makes a chemical,
anandamide,
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