Marijuana’s Effects on My Brain: Can Just One Experiment with Marijuana Affect My Brain So Much?

Reader’s Question

I’m 15 years old and just recently tried marijuana. I absolutely hated my experience because it made me feel “panicky” and like things were “vague.” I’m still not feeling myself, even after 2 weeks. I feel like everything I do is sort of like a dream that I can control. I have never experienced anything like this before and it is kind of scary to me. I still play sports and everything but I sometimes go off into a daze. I read on one of your past articles that it may be from a change in dopamine which is associated with marijuana. I don’t talk as much as I used to and daydream a lot at school. I’m having trouble focussing on one thing but I can still think. I just want everything to go back to normal. I still talk to my friends and everything but some of them have told me that I am different. Normally, I’m extremely happy and the life of the party. I really need to get this sorted out before I go insane.

Psychologist’s Reply

First of all, being open and honest, especially with yourself, when it comes to anything regarding drug use, even experimental drug use, is very important. So, commend yourself for being willing to take a serious look at your situation.

Drugs of various types affect people quite differently, especially persons who have not built a certain level of tolerance for the drugs. Marijuana is regarded by some as a “harmless” drug, but the facts suggest that it is not a substance to be treated lightly at all. Having a “panicky” reaction is not at all uncommon, especially for first-time users. Generally, individuals who experience adverse effects to the drug find that effects diminish within a couple of weeks.

There are several things to consider when it comes to taking any substance that is not prescribed or legally available and regulated. First, you never really knows for sure what substance or substances might be in the drug you think you’re taking. The strength of the drug, and the presence of impurities or foreign elements can dramatically affect how a person will respond to taking it. Second, everyone’s body systems are unique and how any drug affects a person’s biochemistry will vary. Third, there are many psychological factors that contribute to why a person might want to try a drug in the first place (some individuals try drugs as a way to “self-medicate” other problems that have been developing) as well as how they might respond to its effects.

All things considered, it’s best to remain open and honest and to share your experiences and concerns with your parents and to seek the counsel of an experienced mental health professional. Between all of you, I’m sure you can sort things out and life can get back to “normal” or perhaps even better!

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