Episode 4: Your Brain on Pot

Click here for a transcript of this week’s episode: Your Brain On Pot TranscriptNote: Conversational pieces of transcripts may deviate slightly from the spoken podcast, but all facts and science are preserved. 

This week on Brainstorms, we discuss America’s favorite drug: marijuana. Your Brain on Pot examines the potential risks of marijuana to the teenage brain. We look at popular beliefs about marijuana over the years: is it addictive? Can it be a gateway drug? Does it really make people less motivated in life, or is that just a myth designed to keep us from doing drugs? We end the episode discussing a pediatrician’s answer to the question: is alcohol or marijuana safer for teens?

If you’re interested in learning more about the science of marijuana, here are some articles to check out:

  • National Geographic did a fascinating piece on the science of medical marijuana from each angle: chemistry, biology, biochemistry, and genetics. It’s a long read, but definitely worth it if you want to learn about the science of cannabis as a plant and drug from different scientific perspectives.
  • If you’re curious to learn more about the marijuana vs. alcohol debate, Freakonomics Radio (a wonderful podcast series) did an episode on this question, which you can access online here. It’s also available on the iTunes store (search: Freakonomics Marijuana or Alcohol?)
  • Finally, if you are a marijuana user and need advice about quitting, please visit our Help Resources page for more information.


The sources used for this podcast are as follows:

Colorado Marijuana Laws

Chemical Constituents of Marijuana

Endocannabinoid System from Wikipedia

How Does Marijuana Affect You?

What is Medical Marijuana?

Effects of Marijuana on Consciousness

Effects of Marijuana Use on Driving

Marijuana and the Developing Brain

Marijuana Use and Academic Performance

Longitudinal Studies of Marijuana Use and Performance (Research Paper)

Effects of Cannabis on the Adolescent Brain (Research Paper)

Laboratory Measure of Motivation in Heavy Marijuana-Smoking Adolescents (Research Paper)

Repeated Exposure to THC Reduces Dopamine Transmission in the Rat (Research Paper)

Link Between Dopamine Function and Apathy in Cannabis users (Research Paper)

Pot Can Trigger Psychotic Symptoms, But Do The Effects Last?

Marijuana as a Gateway Drug: The Myth That Will Not Die

Alcohol or Marijuana? A Pediatrician Faces the Question

Is Marijuana Addictive? It Depends How You Define Addictive


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