Marijuana Side Effects: Learn How Marijuana Impacts the Body!
Marijuana or the dried up leaves of the Cannabis Sativa plant is one of the most widely used recreational drugs in the world. It is usually smoked but can also be ingested in a number of different ways. It can be vaped, brewed and even be mixed with food like brownies. It contains chemicals called cannabinoids such as THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) which works as an intoxicant. Each chemical has a different effect on the central nervous system. The plant strain, mode of cultivation and harvesting methods are important in determining what chemicals are ingested while consuming marijuana.
Most consumers consume marijuana to alter their senses or get “high” as they call it. The level of intoxication depends on the concentration of THC. It is also consumed for medicinal purposes like treating pain, nausea, glaucoma, anorexia due to AIDS, multiple sclerosis and many other problems. Some prescription medications also contain cannabinoids in them.
Marijuana is an illegal substance in most parts of the world and is classified as a scheduled drug due to a number of reasons. Marijuana is known to have varied effects on the body.
Once the marijuana is ingested the THC and other chemicals get absorbed by the body through the blood. The rate of absorption varies depending on the way it has been ingested. The THC then activates different receptors in the brain that release dopamine which results in the person feeling "high."
The other short-term effects of marijuana are:
- Altered senses (colors may appear more vivid)
- Altered sense of time
- Changes in mood
- Impaired coordination
- Difficulty in problem-solving
- Incoherent thinking
- Memory loss
- decreased libido
These effects can last between 1-4 hours based on marijuana’s potency.
Consuming marijuana has been known to have long-term effects on brain development in teenagers. It caused memory and thought related problems leading to impaired learning. Studies have shown that teens lose significant IQ points as they grow older due to marijuana consumption. It is also said to have significant effects on their verbal skills and general knowledge and overall cognitive development. It remains unclear if these effects are irreversible.
Use of marijuana can cause dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, dry or red eyes, heart and blood pressure problems, lung problems, impaired mental functioning, headache, dizziness, numbness, panic reactions, hallucinations, flashbacks, depression, and sexual problems.
Serious side effects
Marijuana, when ingested during pregnancy can pass through the placenta and slow the growth of the fetus. There is evidence to suggest that Marijuana use during pregnancy is associated with childhood leukemia and fetal abnormalities.
marijuana consumption during breastfeeding may result in slowed development in the baby because the THC can pass through the breast milk and be ingested by the infant
Smoking marijuana with tobacco increases the risk of Cardio Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It can also increase blood pressure and heart rate increases the chances of having a heart attack.
Marijuana consumption can weaken the immune system making it difficult to fight simple infections.
Marijuana consumption is also associated with lung problems from simple infections to lung cancer and emphysema especially when smoked with tobacco.
Marijuana can make seizure disorders like epilepsy worse in some people.
Since Marijuana affects the central nervous system, it can have adverse effects when mixed with anesthesia and other medications during and after surgery. It is advisable to stop marijuana use at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Marijuana use is also associated with certain types of people who are at a higher risk of developing dependence patterns with substances.
Marijuana had proved time and again to be a considerably lesser burden on public health compared to Alcohol and Tobacco. Even the most serious side effects of marijuana are a consequence of its combination with alcohol or tobacco.