Globally, marijuana is the most used illicit drug. Classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, marijuana is a mood-altering drug that affects almost every organ in the body.
In 2017, 6 percent or about 1 in 16 high school seniors in the United States reported using marijuana (cannabis) every day. The number of 12th graders who think marijuana use is risky has halved in the last 20 years.
According to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 19.8 million, or 80.6 percent of people who used illicit drugs in the U.S. used marijuana in the month before being surveyed.
People can smoke marijuana, inhale it through vapor, brew it as a tea, apply it as a balm, or eat it in products, such as brownies or chocolate bars.
Some people use medical marijuana to treat chronic pain , muscle spasticity, anorexia , nausea, and sleep disturbances.
Medical marijuana refers to either whole marijuana or its ingredients, such as cannabidiol (CBD), which forms the base of a limited number of approved medications.
Medical marijuana is not subject to governmental standardization, making its ingredients and potency unknown. It is not legal in all states.
Fast facts on marijuana:
• The primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydro-cannabidinol (THC).
• Marijuana contains more than 120 compounds, which are likely to have different properties.
• The effects of recreational marijuana use include lightheadedness, a feeling of relaxation, increased appetite, and reduced blood pressure .
Effects Of Marijuanna/Cannabis
Marijuana has many effects on the mind and body.The effects of the 120-plus cannabinoids present in cannabis are mostly unknown, but the most potent psychoactive agent identified to date is THC.
When a person smokes cannabis, THC is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, reaching the brain within minutes.
The body absorbs THC more slowly when it is eaten, delaying the onset of action for up to 2 hours and prolonging the duration of the effect.
THC and other cannabinoids in marijuana are similar to cannabinoids produced by the body. These natural cannabinoids act like neurotransmitters that send chemical messages between nerve cells (neurons) throughout the nervous system.
These neurotransmitters affect brain areas involved in memory, thinking, concentration, movement, coordination, sensory and time perception, as well as pleasure. The receptors that respond to these cannabinoids also react to THC, which can alter and disrupt normal brain function. Some studies have shown that THC affects areas of the brain that control memory creation and attention.
It also disrupts other parts of the brain, adversely affecting balance, posture, coordination, and reaction time. This can make it unsafe for a person using marijuana to drive a car, operate heavy machinery, or engage in sports or other potentially dangerous physical activities.
THC also stimulates specific cannabinoid receptors that increase the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter related to feelings of pleasure.
People use marijuana to achieve a feeling of elation (a high), giddiness, and relaxation. Marijuana also produces sensory perception changes; colors may seem brighter, music more vivid, and emotions more profound. Some people experience feelings of paranoia.
When people consume cannabis for recreational purposes, they might experience the following effects:
changes in perception, due to a slight hallucinogenic effect that can create a distorted illusion of time and space
mood changes, leading to euphoria, feelings of energy, or a state of relaxation higher heart rate,
reduction in blood pressure
impairment of concentration and memory reduced psychomotor coordination nausea, even though some cannabinoids may help reduce nausea increase in appetite
Depending on the length and amount of use, some traces of THC might still be present in a person’s urine for several months after they last used marijuana.
Risks Of Using Marijuana
Impairment of judgment: A study found that a person is significantly more likely to crash their car if they drive within 3 hours of smoking marijuana.
Reproductive issues: According to a review of animal studies , cannabis use might lead to sexual dysfunction.
Immune response : According to one study, smoking marijuana could eventually suppress the body’s immune system, making the user more susceptible to certain types of cancer and infections.
Psychosis : Research carried out on siblings suggested that long-term marijuana use could increase the risk of developing
psychosis in young adults.
Gum disease risk: One study indicated that smoking cannabis increases the risk of developing gum disease , regardless of whether the user smokes tobacco.
Reduced brain function : Researchers found that regular cannabis users who started before they were 15 years old did not score as well on brain tests as their counterparts who began using cannabis later in life.
Acute memory loss: A British study suggests that smokers of potent cannabis strains (skunk, for instance) may have a higher risk of acute memory loss.
Changes in human DNA : A British study found compelling evidence that cannabis smoke damages human DNA in such a way that the user could become more susceptible to developing cancer.
Testicular cancer: A 2015 review and meta-analysis of three earlier studies found that frequent or long-term marijuana use may increase the risk of developing testicular cancer , but more evidence is needed to confirm this.
Marijuana may be addictive, and long-term use may cause various health problems.
Cannabis, like other pain relievers, can lead to dependence and addiction .
Over time, the severe, persistent overstimulation of the neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors can cause changes in the brain that result in a marijuana use disorder or addiction.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) , people who start using marijuana at a young age, and who are heavy users are more likely to develop a marijuana use disorder than some other users.