Cannabis sativa, also known as marijuana, is a psychoactive sedative drug derived from a hemp plant that is used not just medically, but also by people for recreational use.

The leaves and buds of the cannabis plant can be smoked, eaten with food, brewed in tea or concentrated into a liquid form.

Most nations classify cannabis as an illegal subsistence due to its effects on the body and brain. Cannabis users experience impaired mental ability, decreased memory function, and weakened ability to learn. Medical pofessionals have expressed concern about the drug’s long term side effects on mental ability and development, especially in adolescents. Successfully employing ways to stop smoking cannabis can improve your mental ability in the long term, for both adults and teenagers.

Evidence is clear from research and studies that cannabis abuse affects your ability to learn, perform tasks, and remember things. Research has shown that adolescent cannabis users scored lower on cognitive tests than adolescents who drank alcohol and non-drug adolescent users. Alarmingly, studies have also demonstrated that the earlier teenagers begin to use cannabis, the more severely their learning and memory are impacted. While it appears that the negative side effects on mental ability and cognition are more pronounced in adolescents than it is in adults, more extensive and comprehensive studies need to be conducted.

Habitual use of cannabis overflows your brain with external plant based cannabinoids or phytocannabinoids. Cannabinoid is the chemical responsible for the “high” that marijuana users experience. Your body does produce its own cannabinoids called endocannabinoids. This naturally occurring chemical in your body is responsible for memory, sleep, stress response, and regulating metabolism. When you begin using phytocannabinoids in marijuana, your body produces less of its own cannabinoids which results in a chemical imbalance in your body. The decrease in your body’s production of cannabinoids is alarming because it can lead to emotional problems and impaired mental function.

Although it has been scientifically proven that cannabis use affects your memory and ability to learn, the sooner you successfully stop smoking cannabis, the sooner your memory and ability to learn will stabilize and return to normal. Long term use of cannabis may impact memory and ability to learn permanently, so the time to stop is now. A study from Harvard University showed cognitive improvement from cannabis users who had quit for 28 days. Adult who had previously smoked cannabis but had since quit scored just as well as their non-cannabis using counterparts. However, mental ability includes emotional and physiological function in addition to cognitive ability. Many heavy cannabis users admit that their usage has had a negative impact on their mental health including social and employment difficulties.

The biggest impact for quitting smoking cannabis and noticing improved mental ability is seen in adolescents. A study by Northwestern Medicine discovered that teenagers who smoked cannabis for three years had atypical changes in the brain structures that are related to memory. Although there is an indication that these side effects could be permanent, any chance for improvement can only begin once you stop smoking cannabis.