It is widely agreed upon that marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug, not just in the United States, but in the world. Due to its heavy presence and the fact that “harder” drugs tend to get more media attention, some people seem to think that marijuana is “okay.”
The biggest reason for this misconception is likely that these people have a lack of information about the drug. They are not as well informed about it as they might be other substances, so they do not realize the negative effects that marijuana can have on users. The drug can affect both the mind and the body, leaving the user in a worsened state regardless of how “high” they think that they are. Another problem is that a lot of people do not realize that the drug has gone through significant changes over the past 20 years. Experts estimate that current varietals of the plant contain more than twice as much THC (the active ingredient that causes people to get high) as the versions that were available to users 20 years ago.
When users smoke marijuana, their lungs absorb the THC and pass it on to the blood. The blood then carries it to the brain, where THC begins to take its toll. The chemical is absorbed into specific parts of the brain that, when not altered by drugs, correctly regulate functions such as:
- Sensory perception
- Time perception
Once it is absorbed into the brain, THC can affect all of the factors listed above. While the amount of time that it affects the user is different based on factors like tolerance, body size and amount ingested, it is safe to say that the short-term impairment brought on by marijuana use can last several hours. However it can still have effects on the brain, memory and the capacity for learning for days, and in some cases even weeks, after use. Some “brain factors” to keep in mind are:
· Marijuana users are more likely than non-users to be diagnosed with depression.
· Marijuana can negatively alter one’s ability to communicate verbally and rationally.
· Marijuana is associated with increased anxiety.
· Regular marijuana users are more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia.
· Long-term marijuana use can lead to a mental dependence, which means it can be addictive.
Marijuana use also takes a toll on the body. Most often it is smoked, which as everyone already knows, means that the lungs are negatively impacted with each puff. Marijuana smokers tend to fall victim to the same lung and chest issues as tobacco smokers, such as bronchitis, increased chest colds and a “smokers’ cough.” Marijuana smoke also contains carcinogens–cancer causing agents–so there is also the possibility of it leading to lung cancer. As far as the heart is concerned, marijuana use increases heart rate up to 100% shortly after it is ingested. This makes users more prone to heart attacks than similar people who did not smoke any marijuana. On a final note, marijuana can also affect fertility. Some studies have linked marijuana use with lower sperm count in men and decreased ovulation in women.
As you can see, marijuana is not as harmless as it seems. It can have a significantly damaging effect on the entire body. It would be wise to consider all of the effects of marijuana before using it. For more information on marijuana prevention, visit us online and find out more about LiveFree! and our mission.