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General overview

Marijuana is prepared from the the Cannabis plant. The main component of marijuana/cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which causes psychoactive effects in the user.

Cannabis is used as a recreational drug and can be used for certain medical indications, depending on the laws of the country one is using this drug in.

Cannabis can have the following effects on the body:

  • Relaxation.
  • Increased mood.
  • Increased appetite

Side effects of cannabis can include the following issues:

  • Dry mouth.
  • Decreased short-term memory.
  • Red eyes.
  • Impaired motor skills and decreased reaction time.
  • Anxiety.
  • Paranoid feelings.

Adverse effects of marijuana

The following section will explain the adverse effects that marijuana can have on the body.

Neurological system: Marijuana can lead to decreased blood flow to the brain, especially in the prefrontal areas where cognitive abilities and emotional stimulation take place. This is the reason why impaired thinking and feelings of anxiety and paranoia can occur.

Respiratory system: Smoking marijuana can lead to chronic coughing, wheezing, sputum production and other symptoms of chronic bronchitis. This can result in persistent upper and lower respiratory infections.

Cardiovascular system: Studies have shown that cannabis can cause a rare condition called arteritis. The arteries narrow due to inflammation which can cause decreased blood supply to a limb or organ. This can lead to serious complications such as amputation or death. Cannabis use has also been temporarily associated with complications such as heart attacks, strokes and sudden cardiac death.

Tolerance and dependency: Withdrawal symptoms from cannabis aren't experienced in the majority of users except for those who are long-term, chronic smokers of marijuana. The symptoms they experience may include irritability, cravings, sleep disturbances and anxiety. People who are high risk for becoming dependent on cannabis include those who have deviant behaviour in childhood or adolescence, are rebellious, have a history of poor academic achievements and who have poor parental/guardian relationships.

Does marijuana help with muscle mass increase?

There isn't any evidence to prove that marijuana use leads to muscle mass increase. In fact, the evidence shows that marijuana use can have the opposite effect here.

Long term marijuana use actually causes testosterone levels in the body to fall and this results in lowered muscle mass. Lowered testosterone levels can also lead to increased fatigue and therefore make one less likely to exercise. Disinhibition caused by marijuana use can also lead to loss of interest to be physically active or to want to push oneself physically in the gym. This would then result in a vicious cycle of continued muscle mass loss.

The decrease in testosterone levels in men can also result in testicular hypotrophy (loss of testicular mass). This then results in testicular failure and sperm production is then affected. The end result here then is that marijuana use can lead to infertility in males as well.

Since marijuana causes an increase in appetite, this eventually leads to an increase in calorie intake. Unfortunately, the cravings are for high fat, processed foods which results in weight gain of fat and loss of muscle mass.

Using marijuana also decreases growth hormone production in adolescents and younger adults which could result in stunted growth and poor muscle mass.

These effects are temporary though as they can be reversed by stopping marijuana use and incorporating a healthy lifestyle by eating a well balanced diet and increasing physical activity.

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