Marijuana is a name adopted in Europe and America for Indian hemp (Cannabis). Cannabis grows in many places, but it is commonly found in the tropical belt. Leaves of the female plant can be smoked or prepared like a tea. More potent form of the plant is in resin form, called hashish. Powder made from the cannabis leaves hairs is called kief. For centuries, the cannabis plant has been used for medical and recreational purposes, especially in areas of China and Middle East.
Effects of cannabis, much alike alcohol, are unpredictable and vary from person to person.
How marijuana affects our body
Drugs derived from natural sources can cause different effects depending on the user, opposed to synthetic ones, that were created in laboratory conditions and chemically regulated to produce the same effects in all consumers.
Factors like personality, circumstances, surroundings etc. play a major role in what effects will be experienced.
When marijuana is smoked, lungs instantly absorb THC from the fumes into the bloodstream. Through the bloodstream, THC reaches the heart and consequently the brain. Even though THC is no longer present in the brain in a couple of hours, it is accumulated in the liver, kidneys and testicles.
Does THC kill brain cells
Human brain produces substances similar to THC, like anandamide. Those substances are transmitted by the same receptors that would transmit THC from cannabis. For that reason, THC disrupts the normal brain functions, especially sleeping, dreaming, etc. Even though studies didn’t conclude that cannabis use leads to significant neurological cell death in the hippocampus, part of the brain responsible for learning and memory, it still causes damage.
THC influences the immune system and increases the heart rate for 20-30 bpm. Additionally, even though cannabis doesn’t cause infertility, it still reduces the reproductive potential in both genders.
Why is cannabis equally or more harmful than tobacco?
Chronic use of cannabis causes various lung diseases, but the combined use of cannabis and tobacco has even more adverse effects. Even though the amount of tobacco that an average smoker inhales is far greater than the amount inhaled when smoking cannabis, toxins in cannabis smoke are much more harmful for the lungs.
The reason behind it is the way cannabis is smoked. Smoke is inhaled by deep breaths, penetrating deeper into the lungs and it is kept in longer before exhaling.
Some cannabis plants have higher concentration of THC and produce a bigger “high” with a single inhalation, while others have a milder effect even after couple of inhalations. The way of smoking determines how much THC will enter the bloodstream.
A blunt transfers up to 20% of THC, the pipe more than that, while the water pipe (bong) transfers up to 50%.
The onset of marijuana effects is immediate and it reaches its peak in around 30 minutes after use. It usually lasts for 2 to 4 hours. If ingested through food, the onset of effects occurs after 1-2 hours and it lasts up to 3-4 hours.
Half-life of THC is up to 20 hours after smoking. For that reason, some effects of cannabis on mental and physical functions can last for days.
Prolonged effects of cannabis can last up to 48 hours, disrupting the cognitive abilities of the user.
Consequences of marijuana use are in a strong correlation with the age a person’s started consuming the drug. If cannabis is consumed while the person’s brain still isn’t fully formed (end of puberty), cognitive deficits are significantly greater.
Reasons people use cannabis
- Relaxation, happiness, better mood, euphoria
- Creative thinking, abstract thinking and improved idea flow
- Gaining important insights of life and oneself
- Change of perspective
- Enhanced sensory experiences of e.g. music
- Analgesic effect (pain relief)
- Nausea, dry mouth, difficulty breathing, increased sweating etc.
- Changes in blood pressure, increased heart rate and other disorders of peripheral nervous system
- Loss of sensory and time perception (distance and duration)
- Difficulty to move, lowered reaction time
- Oversensitivity to stimuli (auditory, tactile, kinesthetic, olfactory etc.)
- Feelings of anxiety, panic and other states of fear
- Lethargy, insomnia or excessive drowsiness
- Paranoid and other psychotic reactions
- Feelings of confusion, disorientation, inability to concentrate and provide judgment
- Numbness of parts of the body or face
- Inability to follow train of thought, “racing thoughts”
- Development of addiction as a consequence of frequent use
Can cannabis get you addicted?
It is usually said that cannabis doesn’t create physical, but psychological addiction. However, that is not completely true. Frequent use of high doses develops tolerance to the drug and mild withdrawal symptoms after stopping. Frequent use creates the need for continued use. If the person decides to reduce consumption, he/she usually isn’t able to follow it through, justifying it with a number of “rational” explanations and excuses.
Withdrawal syndrome is mild to medium in intensity and can last from 1 up to 6 weeks. Withdrawal symptoms can be: anhedonia, demotivation, anxiety, headache, sometimes mild nausea, reduced appetite, sleeping problems, desire for consuming the drug, feeling that everyday life is boring. Intensity of withdrawal symptoms depends on how long and frequent was the drug consumed and very from person to person.
It is proved that frequent use of cannabis or using it in large quantities at a time poses a risk for physical and mental health of every individual. Chronic use of cannabis makes life feel dull, difficult, lacking sense and not worth living.
If you are a chronic user and you disagree with what was outlined in this article, we encourage you to, contact us, so we could revise our conclusions.
For more information or if you think that you or your loved one is in need of help,
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