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Article Summary

The Effects Of Marijuana Use

Many Marijuana users and legalization activists believe that smoking marijuana has no negative effects. However, there have been many researches that have proved that use of marijuana has many negative effects on an users' health. Marijuana is one of the most commonly abused drug in the U.S. When smoked, the user begins to feel the effects almost immediately, lasting for 1 to 3 hours. On the other hand, when it is consumed in foods like brownies, the effects can delay for a long period but will last longer when the user starts experiencing them.

Effects on lungs

It has been scientifically proved that marijuana smoke consists of carcinogens and is an irritant to the lungs. The smoke from marijuana has more than 50% carcinogenic hydrocarbons than that from tobacco smoke. Since marijuana users tend to inhale the smoke deeply and hold it longer in the lungs than tobacco smokers, this leaves their lungs more exposed to carcinogenic smoke. The increased exposure of their lungs to the carcinogenic smoke can lead to serious lung illnesses such as cancer of the lungs. Moreover, marijuana smokers have many common respiratory problems with tobacco smokers including frequent acute chest illness and daily cough.

Marijuana and the brain

Marijuana contains an active ingredient called delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which affects cannabinoid receptors on nerve cells while still influencing the activity of those cells. Most of these receptors are found in the brain parts that influence concentration, pleasure, sensory and thought. When marijuana is used for a long period, the user begin to experience symptoms like delusions, disorientation, impaired memory and hallucinations. High doses of this drug can also lead to acute psychotic reaction, and stress among many other mental problems.

Effects on heart

The effects of Marijuana use on heart can be experienced even within a minute after smoking. The heart starts to beat more quickly and the blood pressure decreases. In fact, smoking marijuana can increase the user's heartbeats by 20-50 beats per minute. This rate increases further when other drugs are used at the same time. The rapid heartbeats and the decreased blood pressure put the user at a risk of getting a heart attack 4 time more, compared to his or her general risk when not smoking.

Addictive potential

Addiction is yet another effect of marijuana use caused by long-term abuse of cannabis. This means that the user continues to seek and abuse marijuana even after knowing its harmful effects upon the functioning in school, family and work context. Most of long-term abusers of marijuana experience withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit. The symptoms include: sleeplessness, drug craving, irritability and decreased appetite. These symptoms can begin even after a few hours or a day following abstinence. They peak at day three and subside within one or two weeks following drug abstinent.

Effects on the unborn

There has been studies which have found that the effects of marijuana use on pregnant women are also passed to their unborn babies. Actually, marijuana is one of the few drugs that causes abnormal cell division which can lead to severe hereditary defects. Women who use marijuana when pregnant put their unborn babies at the risk of developing some neurological development problems after birth. Some of these problems include: poor problem-solving skills, increased tremulousness, distorted response to visual stimuli, increased risk of leukemia, and sustained memory and attention problems. In addition to that, the woman can give birth to a premature, undersized or an underweight baby.

Short term effects

There are several short term effects of using marijuana. They include: loss of coordination, anxiety, panic, distrust, problems with learning and memory, dry mouth, red eyes, distorted perception and problem with thinking. These short term effects in turn cause more problems in the user's daily life. Heavy abusers are sometimes unable to go to work or study. People who abuse marijuana over a long time can also become dull and inattentive. Impaired coordination and problems with memory can lead to road accidents if the user is driving, or even cause harm on the user when handling machines in a work place.

Other health effects

There are some studies which have indicated that THC also impairs the immune system of the body from fighting diseases. This can cause a wide range of health problems such as tuberculosis and flu. Some studies indicate that THC also increases the risk of developing tumors and bacterial infections.

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