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Marijuana, weed, pot, ganja — whatever you call it, there's no denying the fact that cannabis is here to stay and that it's quickly moving into the medicinal sphere. However, marijuana is still a subject of controversy, with its supposed pros and cons. Many people wonder if chronic marijuana use leads a person to experience diminished brain capacity, kills brain cells and effects cognitive behaviors.
One of the most common questions to be answered as many states are in the process of legalizing marijuana is the drugs long-term effects. Even though alcohol remains legal, there are many studies and evidence that speak to its dangers. The effects marijuana has on a recreational user is an area which remains highly debated.
Marijuana: What Is It?
Marijuana is also known by the names pot, weed, grass, bud, ganja, and various other terms. It is a green-gray mixture of the dried leaves and flowers of the Cannabis sativa plant. Some people who use the drug will roll it up into a cigarette and smoke it, while others use a water pipe or bong. Other ways of using the drug include brewed into a tea or mixed into different foods.
What Is THC?
THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is a chemical found in marijuana that when ingested, binds to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Low amounts of this substance helps to reduce nausea and pain and helps with appetite stimulation. THC in larger doses results in the user becoming high, which is a feeling of altered time and space that is accompanied by feelings of happiness, fatigue and possibly both.
How Common Is Marijuana Use In America?
According to a 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, marijuana is the most commonly used of all illicit drugs. In that year, it was used by 81.0 percent of all illicit drug users. This drug is widely used among adolescents and young adults. The perception that teens have about marijuana has steadily been on the decline over the past decade and it may possibly be due to the increased public debate about legalization or loosening the restrictions for marijuana use.
What Are The Effects Of Marijuana?
There are short and long term effects associated with marijuana and these include the following:
- When smoked, marijuana, TCH and other chemicals in the drug will pass from the lungs and into the bloodstream. From the bloodstream, these chemicals are carried throughout the body and to the brain. A user will start to feel the effects of marijuana almost immediately and it brings a pleasant euphoria and relaxation. Other common side effects of smoking the drug include heightening in sensory perception, laughter, an altered perception of time, and increase in appetite.
- Having a pleasant experience with marijuana is by no means the case for everybody. Instead of euphoria and relaxation, some people experience feelings of panic, distrust, fear and anxiety. These types of effects are more common in people who have used too much of the drug, because it could have a higher potency or the person could be an inexperienced smoker. People who have ingested a large amount of marijuana could also experience an episode of acute psychosis, which may bring about delusions, hallucinations, and a loss of a sense of personal identity. These side effects are temporary reactions, but in those who are especially vulnerable it can create long lasting psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.
- If marijuana is used in food or drinks, the effects could be a bit delayed. Usually in food or drink, the effects of marijuana will appear within 30 minutes or an hour, because it must first pass through the digestive system. Eating or drinking marijuana delivers a lot less THC into the system and users may consume more than intended due to that fact.