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Many who consider marijuana as a "harmless" little drug, do so because they relate the present day marijuana to the one they used to smoke back in 1960's-70's or 80. But in the present times, sophisticated growing techniques, selective breeding, special lighting systems and hydroponics produce marijuana which is very different.
The active ingredient found in marijuana is THC or Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol. This chemical is responsible for the highs that marijuana gives to its users.
During the 1960′s marijuana only had 1% THC. In 1970′s this level went up to 4%. But today marijuana has at least 10% THC. So the marijuana that teens smoke today is ten times more potent than the one that was available to their parents when they were teenagers.
Teen marijuana abuse has various negative effects, both short as well as long-term. Proper awareness is hence very important among young users who should know every bit about the effects of Marijuana abuse. Here are a few long-term and short-term effects linked to Marijuana drug abuse as seen among teens.
Disrupts functioning of brain
THC compound present in Marijuana is passed to the brain by means of the blood stream, every single time a person abuses the drug. THC then binds together with Cannabinoid receptors present in the nerve cells and changes the neuron activity. As Cannabinoid receptors control the function of memory, perception, thought, sensation of pleasure and concentration power, Marijuana abuse severely affects all the above mentioned brain functions.
Problem with cognitive abilities
Studies reveal that the cognitive ability of a Marijuana abuser is severely altered. The affected person will have less learning ability and cannot remember things or even recall information. It impacts their overall memory function.
Increased sensory perceptions is a very common condition among those who abuse marijuana. Distorted image of time and self, readiness to respond, problems in identifying and distinguishing things are some of the common effects of marijuana.
Increased heart beat, panic and anxiety rate
Heart beat is rapidly increased by smoking Marijuana. If a normal individual has a heart rate of 70 to 80 heartbeats every minute, then it can go up by 20 to 50 heartbeats every minute or at times the number might even double up after Marijuana abuse. Marijuana smoking is also connected with unwanted panic, fear and anxiety.
Marijuana smoking and driving is very risky
THC affects the overall functioning of the cerebellum, which controls body coordination and balance. It also affects the rate of reaction and the ability to judge. So users high on marijuana can not take the right decision quickly. The abuser will take a lot of time to respond to signals and sounds on the roadway which will heighten the risk of accident.
Affects the brain
THC which is the main chemical found in Marijuana - influences the nerve cells present in the brain. These nerve cells are responsible for memory, pleasure, concentration, thought, time and sensory perception. The users' ability to undertake complex tasks is significantly reduced because of Marijuana abuse. Users might also suffer from psychological issues such as memory loss.
Affects airways and lungs
Marijuana smokers usually develop various breathing problems which are way more dangerous than the ones caused due to tobacco smoking. The abuser may suffer from chest cold, cough, chest diseases, phlegm production and more. It also increases the risk of developing lung infections or obstructed airways.
The smoke released from Marijuana has various cancer causing compounds. Thus, smokers of marijuana have increased chances of developing lung cancer. It also heightens the risk of neck or head cancer in the long run.
Weakens the Immune system
The immune system of our body protects us from various kinds of diseases. Marijuana hence affects the immune system of those who abuse this drug. Marijuana damages the T lymphocytes present in the lungs' defense system which is vital for fighting off infections.
Occasional marijuana smoking does not cause much damage, but mostly people get easily addicted to it. Recreational usage hence leads to addiction, and this disrupts their daily life. Thousands of young people are admitted to various rehabilitation centers every year. Mostly people opt for professional help, so one should not feel embarrassed about asking for help. Timely recovery means a better life.
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