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Marijuana is one of the most commonly abused drugs, but very little is known the effects of Marijuana in the users body. Marijuana is a term that refers to dried flowers and leaves of the Cannabis plant (Cannabis Sativa/Cannabis Indica/Cannabis Ruderalis). A potent hallucinogen and relaxant, Marijuana is used by multitudes across the world. The use of Marijuana is probably as old as mankind itself because there is very little or no processing required in order to ingest the drug. While Marijuana seems innocent enough to pass off as some kind of college fad that everyone just grows out of, abuse of this drug can result in multiple health problems that can be difficult to treat in the long-term.
The active ingredient in Marijuana is 'delta-9 tetrahydro-cannabinol', more commonly known as THC. This compound is what gives Marijuana it's hallucinogenic and relaxing effects. THC binds to many receptor cells in our body, most prominently in the brain and proceeds to alter our perception as well as our sensory systems. The effectiveness of Marijuana in the users body is determined by the way it is consumed. The most popular means of using Marijuana is to smoke it. This is also the only way to get the most amount of THC into the bloodstream.
The upside to smoking is that the effects wear off within a hour or two. The downside is that almost all of the THC in the Marijuana floods directly into your bloodstream. People sometimes eat marijuana by mixing it with their food. While the effects of Marijuana in the users body aren't very drastic in this case, they tend to last for hours together. Eating Marijuana is popular amongst people who don't want to be bothered with smoking and are looking for a more natural way to ingest Marijuana. Those looking for an extended high from their Marijuana also take the swallowing approach.
Most users of Marijuana start out innocently enough as people looking for some relaxation and a different high. However, the problem with Marijuana, as with all other drugs is that prolonged use leads to addiction and then abuse. The long term effects of Marijuana use aren't studied that well, but most researchers agree that it can cause cancer, respiratory diseases, decreased concentration, faulty memory and impaired learning skills. Too much Marijuana in the users body can impair the functions of the receptors the drug targets in the long term. This can result in severe drug addiction and withdrawal symptoms when the user finally tries to get off the drug.
Marijuana can also be brewed as a tea and smoked in bongs (water pipes), but the basic difference between the two is the same as smoking or eating. When used as a recreational drug, Marijuana in the users body produces a change in perception. Time appears to slow down and the user tends to become more talkative. Smoking Marijuana induces mild to extreme euphoria and/or induces an extremely relaxed state for a brief period of time. Users report feeling either or both, but this is the general description of the results of smoking Marijuana.
Some of the long term effects of Marijuana in the users body are male sexual dysfunction, depression, gum disease, increased risk of cancer, acute memory loss and much more. Most of the ill effects of prolonged Marijuana use are consistent with long term smoking. Studies have revealed that smoking a "joint" can actually be as bad as smoking five cigarettes in a row. The resins, oils and residues generated from the burning of Marijuana often accumulate in the trachea and lungs and can be much worse than the results of smoking tobacco.
Marijuana users face lesser side-effects than those who use more refined versions of Cannabis, but the risks over the long-term remain the same. Rehab programs for Marijuana can turn out to be just as expensive and time consuming as for other drug addictions and addiction isn't something one can just wish away in a day. This is not to mention the social problems that arise from the abuse of Marijuana. It may start out as something fun, but Marijuana in the users body is just as dangerous as any other drug and users need to be extremely cautious to keep themselves from spiraling down towards addiction.
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