Marijuana is known as the most commonly used drug in all of America. While many feel the use of marijuana is not dangerous, what they do not realize are the numerous effects it has on the body with its long term use and abuse.
To understand marijuana’s effects is to first understand what types of chemicals are in the drug. The largest most mind altering drug within marijuana is THC. THC is a strong chemical that rapidly passes from the smoker’s lungs into their bloodstream, from which is then transferred to the brain and organs.
Scientists have dug even deeper to see how THC affects the brain and body. What they have discovered is that the brain has cannabinoid receptors which are triggered when THC enters the bloodstream. Some people have more cannabinoid receptors than others. What do these cannabinoid receptors do? Because a large majority of these receptors are located in the pleasure center of the brain as well as the part of the brain important for memory, thinking, concentrating, sensory and coordination, THC thus affects these parts of a person’s life. This means that an abusive smoker can begin losing their memory, have distorted perception or difficulty thinking. The biggest threat is on one’s memory as scientists have discovered it can impact how one can learn or what they can remember for weeks at a time.
THC is also addictive in itself, which means when the smoker stops using marijuana they will begin feeling withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms may include, but are not limited to anxiety, loss of appetite, insomnia and irritability.
Physiologically, marijuana also has adverse effects on the heart. One’s heart rate is increased shortly after smoking. This increase in heart rate can last for up to three hours. Because of this, users of marijuana increase their chances of a heart attack the first hour after smoking the drug.
Smoking marijuana also affects the lungs. The smoke from inhaling marijuana has fifty to seventy percent more carcinogens than tobacco smoke. This can lead to lung cancer, an increase in lung infections and other possible respiratory illnesses.
While marijuana is occasionally prescribed for medical reasons, doctors are cautious about handing out prescriptions due to the potential for its abuse. Marijuana is also considered a ‘gateway’ drug as many users begin to lose the high they gain from marijuana and begin seeking it in more powerful drugs that are even more damaging the body and addictive.
Abusing marijuana, as with any other drugs, effects not only the user but those who are close to the user. These individuals may include immediate family, friends or co-workers. If you or a loved one are suffering from marijuana abuse, it is often a wise decision to contact a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. There, a program will be fit to your needs to better assist you with a overall healthy and positive recovery.