Until marijuana became popular during the 1960s, it remained relatively unknown by the general population. In recent decades, that situation has changed drastically. According to a 2011 study, there were more than 111 million American older than 12 who had tried marijuana at least month. A further 19 million had used the drug within the previous month before the survey was conducted.
While marijuana is available medicinally or recreationally in many states, there are still some concerns about it. Many parents rightly worry about how marijuana will affect the brain of their growing teenagers. The mind is not fully formed until about age 23 to 25. Until that point, drugs can end up causing problems with brain development. There are also some studies that link marijuana use with an increased risk of schizophrenia.
There are certainly concerns about marijuana use, but there are also some benefits. According to studies, marijuana can help control pain and alleviate nausea caused by treatments like chemotherapy. Unfortunately, many of the benefits of marijuana are not entirely known. This is because it is currently classified as a Schedule I substance in the United States. Researchers cannot generally test marijuana in research studies, so it is impossible to know all of the benefits or side effects of marijuana.
What Kind of Drug Counts as Marijuana?
The Controlled Substances Act of 1990 lists marijuana as a Schedule I substance. This means that the government says that it has a high potential for abuse and no recognized medical use. Basically, it means that marijuana is classified the same or worse than illicit drugs like cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.
Marijuana is a plant, and it is a type of hemp. Scientifically, it is known as cannabis. This plant is grown and the buds are harvested. They are then dried and sold to the consumer. Depending on if the plant is dried and the type of strain, it can look brown, gray, green or purple.
In the human body, marijuana is a depressant. This means that it slows down all of the messages that go between your body and brain. When you take it in large doses, it can even cause hallucinogenic effects. Some of the street names for marijuana include ganja, pot, weed, cone, chronic or Mary Jane.
When marijuana is used, it tends to be in the dried form. This form is put in a bong or smoked as a joint. Hashish is another form. It is made from dried plant resin and is often mixed with tobacco before it is smoked. Hashish is also commonly baked into food items like brownies or cookies. The last form of marijuana is hash oil. This is basically liquefied marijuana .It can be smoked in a cigarette or in another device. When someone consumes marijuana by eating, it takes about an hour to take effect. Smoked marijuana has almost immediate effects.
Recreational Marijuana Use
One of the most controversial topics in recent years is about marijuana’s recreational use. For recreational use, individuals use THC from marijuana to get high. The THS goes from the lungs to the blood stream and the brain. It targets the cannabinoid receptors in the mind and cellular reactions. This causes a high sensation. The user may feel euphoric or happy. It may also put you to sleep or change your thought patterns. The strongest effects of marijuana are felt in parts of the brain that have a high number of cannabinoid receptors.
Medical Marijuana Use
While marijuana is only available for recreational use in a couple of states, many states offer medical use. Depending on the state, marijuana is available for different conditions. Some common conditions include HIV/AIDS, cancer and any pain condition. Marijuana can reduce nausea, vomiting and pain. Because of this, it is often used to help muscle spasms, chronic pain and pain from cancer. Its ability to help reduce nausea and increase hunger also makes it ideal for patients who have HIV, AIDS or cancer.
According to some, there is a risk of becoming addicted to marijuana. Compared to drugs like alcohol and nicotine, marijuana has minimal addictive effects. It is still not a good idea to use marijuana regularly because, like any substance, it can be addictive. While the adverse side effects are not entirely known, researchers know that marijuana can increase the chances of having cognitive problems, memory loss and schizophrenia.
The Side Effects of Marijuana
There are short-term and long-term effects of using marijuana. In the short term, you may experience anxiety, panic attacks and reduced reaction time. You may have a lack of coordination, distortion of the sense, sleepiness and increased heart beat. The increased heart beat can even increase your risk of having a heart attack.
If you use marijuana regularly over the long term, it can hurt your immune system. It can make it harder for your body to resist illness. It can make it harder for your brain to function and understand information. Long-term side effects included abnormal cell structures, reduced male hormones, destroyed lung fibers, learning problems, apathy, reduced libido, mood swings, growth disorders, drowsiness and brain injuries.
Jobs or schools may test for marijuana. Currently, urine, blood, saliva and hair tests can all find if you have used marijuana. A urine test can typically tell if you have used marijuana in the last few days or weeks. Blood and saliva generally only work for a few hours after use, but can sometimes catch marijuana use up to two days later. Meanwhile, a hair test can find marijuana in your system up to 90 days after you use it.