The Effects of THC on the Brain

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Brain Activities: Areas of the brain that have high levels of cannabinoid receptors are labeled in this illustration. Fill in the blanks with the activities that are regulated by the numbered parts of the brain. Then answer the “Think It Through” questions below.



1. Amygdala: ___________________________________________________________________

2. Basal ganglia:  ______________________________________________________________

3. Brain stem: __________________________________________________________________

4. Cerebellum: ________________________________________________________________

5. Hippocampus: ________________________________________________________________

6. Hypothalamus: _______________________________________________________________

7. Neocortex: __________________________________________________________________

8. Nucleus accumbens: __________________________________________________________

9. Spinal cord: __________________________________________________________________

   “Think It Through” Questions: (Write your answers on separate paper.)

1. THC, the main active ingredient in marijuana, disrupts the function of the endocannabinoid system in a person’s brain. Which areas of the brain are critical to the ability to safely drive a car? How might THC impair driving ability?

2. Which areas of the brain are most in play when studying for a test and why? How would smoking marijuana affect these areas and a person’s ability to study for a test?

3. How might marijuana use affect a person’s relationships with other people, such as friends, teachers, or parents? Answer the question in terms of THC’s effect on brain function.

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The Science of Marijuana: How THC Affects the Brain