Actress Kristen Bell revealed in a new interview that she’s a recreational marijuana user.
“I like my vape pen quite a bit,” she said on a recent episode of the podcast “WTF With Marc Maron.” “Weed rules. Weed is my drug of choice, for sure.” Bell made a point to say that she smokes weed only on occasion. “I can’t do it around my kids, which is a phenomenal amount of hours each week,” she said. “Once a week, if I’m just exhausted and we’re about to sit down and watch 60 Minutes, why not?”
Bell acknowledges that her husband, Dax Shepard, has been sober for 14 years and says that “he doesn’t have a problem with anyone else partaking in anything, provided within reason that they’re not acting like a complete schmuck.”
“He’s fine if people do things. He likes drugs and alcohol,” she added. “He just is aware that he lost his privilege with them because he can’t handle it. His brain does not have the chemistry to handle it.”
Smoking pot once a week seems pretty minimal, but research has still found it can change someone’s brain function, women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, MD, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. She points to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience that found that even “light” pot smokers had changes in brain function in areas of motivation and emotion (the changes were just greater in those regions of the brain in people who smoked more heavily).
Smoking pot through a vaping pen “eliminates some of the compounds that you inhale if you were to smoke it rather than vape it,” Wider says. But using a vape pen can cause someone to take in more THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that causes a person to get a high, than they would otherwise, Jamie Alan, an assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “The thing with a vape pen is that you can get liquids with really high THC concentrations,” she says. “It’s possible to consume more THC in one sitting than someone would be consuming if they smoked a marijuana cigarette once a week.”
Smoking marijuana once a week doesn’t seem like much of a habit, but it can definitely affect a person’s brain over time. “We know that functionally, light marijuana users have changes in the receptor levels and areas of their brains actually shrink,” Alan says. “When we test them as far as memory and learning, they tend to score lower on these tests.” Although Alan says that more tests need to be done on the benefits, she notes that it has been shown to have “anti-inflammatory activities.”
Whether or not it’s a smart health decision, Bell seems at ease with the decision to partake — while still being committed to her husband’s sobriety. In a post two weeks ago for his birthday, she applauded his “sacrifice” and celebrated how hard he’s worked to stay sober. “I know how much you loved using. I know how much it got in your way. And I know, because I saw, how hard you worked to live without it,” Bell said in the post. “I will forever be in awe of your dedication, and the level of fierce moral inventory you perform on yourself, like an emotional surgery, every single night.”
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