Effects of Marijuana
People who are pursuing to legalize marijuana strongly believe that smoking pot has no negative effects to the mind and body but scientific research specifies that it can cause many different health problems. Despite the warnings of health problems that marijuana use brings, it is still the most widely used illicit drug in the United States and probably because people who use it do not really take research findings seriously.
The short term effects of marijuana usually happen immediately after smoking it and could last from one up to three hours. Some people mix it in their food like cookies or brownies and when eaten, the effect will not be experienced right away but it usually lasts longer. When it’s taken with food, you can experience hallucinations, delusions, impaired memory and disorientation. After consumption of marijuana whether smoked or eaten, you get to experience distortion of perception to light, sounds, time and feeling. You will have problems with memory and learning, you will lose coordination, you will have trouble with thinking and problem-solving, your heart rate will increase and your blood pressure will go down. There are also times when marijuana causes anxiety, fear, distrust and panic.
Since marijuana causes the above mentioned problems, it automatically means that it affects the brain as well. The active ingredient in marijuana called THC or delta-9 tetrahyrdocannabinol acts on the cannabinoid receptors on our nerve cells and impacts the activity of those cells. The brain has areas that are composed of many cannabinoid receptors but there are also parts that have only few or none at all. Many cannabinoid receptors are found in the parts of the brain which influences pleasure, memory, thought, concentration, sensory, time perception and movement coordination.
But marijuana does not only have effects on the brain, it also affects the heart. A few minutes after smoking marijuana, the heart usually beats rapidly and the blood pressure drops. It causes the heart beat to increase by twenty to fifty beats per minute. Because of the low blood pressure and rapid heart beating, it has been found out by researchers that marijuana users are at risk of heart attacks, four times higher during the first hour after smoking pot compared to the risk of having a heart attack when not smoking the drug.
Smoking marijuana can also cause burning and stinging of the mouth and the throat. It can even cause heavy coughing which means it also affects the lungs. According to scientific studies, those who smoke pot regularly can experience the same respiratory problems that tobacco smokers do. Even though marijuana smokers consume lesser cannabis compared to smoking tobacco, the effects of marijuana to the lungs still cannot be ignored because it contains more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke. The lungs of marijuana smokers are more prone to exposure to carcinogenic properties longer because they do inhale the smoke deeper and hold it in longer. Although studies have not yet confirmed, it is said that marijuana smokers are three times likely to develop cancer.