Articles / Marijuana
Marijuana, also known as ?herb?, ?weed?, ?pot?, ?boom?, ?Mary Jane?, ?gangster?, ?chronic? and other (over 200 slang words for it), is a dry green-brown mixture of leaves, seeds, stems and flowers of the Cannabis sativa plant. Its main active chemical element THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) binds with protein receptors in membranes of certain nerve cells in the brain, causing mind-altering (psychoactive) effects, increased heart beat, loss of coordination, anxiety, altered perception etc. The strength of the effect depends on the amount of THC in the drug. On average marijuana contains about 3% of THC and over 400 of other chemicals. Marijuana is the most wide-spread drug abused by millions of people all over the world. Most commonly, it is smoked in a cigarette (?nail? or ?joint?) or in a pipe (?bong?). However, it can be also brewed and consumed as tea or added to food, sometimes it is also added to other drugs, such as crack. Hashish ? is a more concentrated (resinous) form of marijuana; or hash oil ? black and sticky liquid.
According to the information provided in the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, about 37% of Americans (in 2006 ? 14.6 million people) starting from the age of 12 use the drug at least once. Especially high is the rate among young people: 20% within the age of 12-17 years old, and 50% - within 18 -25 years old.
What Does Marijuana Looks Like
Marijuana is made of the dried leaves and flowering tops of Cannabis Sativa ? Indian hemp plant. The dried leave, seeds, stems and flowers of green/brown color look similar to tobacco. Marijuana can be either smoked, chewed, brewed as tea, added to food and other drugs. Hashish ? is a resin of the flowering top of the plat that has 5-8 stronger effect.
History of Marijuana
Cannabis seeds were used as food in China already in 6000 BC. Spreading to India and Central Asia marijuana was used as medicine and intoxicant. In the USA it gained as much popularity as alcohol in the 1960 ? 1970ss. The drug is mostly abused by teenagers and young people starting from 12 and up to 25 years old. According to the report submitted by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency in 1998, marijuana use among teenagers increased as much as 300 % from 1992 to 1998.
Facts about Marijuana
- Marijuana has more than 200 slang variants for it;
- In all form and types marijuana affects normal function of the brain;
- THC ? present in marijuana is trapped in the fat cells of all body organs; THC or its metabolites can be detected by simple urine drug test even few days after smoking marijuana;
- Marijuana stimulates ?the munchies? effect ? feeling thirsty and hungry;
- It does significant damage to one? memory, perception and judgment;
- It might be the cause of lung-cancer;
- Five joints of marijuana contain the same amount of cancer-causing chemicals as a pack of tobacco cigarettes;
- The risk of passing on to more serious and more damaging illicit drugs is 104 times higher among those who have tried marijuana than those who never have;
- The strength of marijuana depends on the amount of THC in it;
- On average marijuana contains 3% of THC;
- An average joint might contain between 5-100 milligrams of THC;
- Some add marijuana in food or tea;
- Only in few minutes after smoking marijuana one experiences an increased heartbeat, dry mouth, loss of coordination, slower reaction and changed perception;
- THC affect the neurons in information-processing system of the hippocampus responsible for memorizing, learning and influences emotional state of a person;
- The every-day use of marijuana can be the reason of respiratory problems: coughing and phlegm and more serious lung disorders.
Those, smoking marijuana daily face a number of risks and might experience one of the following disorders: respiratory tract problems (cough & phlegm), frequent acute chest pain, lung infections, obstructed airways. Lung cancer is the most serious possible complication.
Marijuana is obviously the reason of short-memory damage as THC affects the hippocampus (a brain area responsible for information processing). Marijuana can seriously affect intellectual abilities of a person: critical and analytical skills, judgement etc.
If marijuana id being smoked the effect is immediate and lasts for 1-3 hours, if consumed with food or drinks it might take a while to start working (1/2 ? 1 hour), but lasts longer ? for 4 hours. However smoking is much more harmful.
After smoking marijuana one can experience the faster heart rate (increases by 20-50 beat per minute or even more), increased blood pressure, red eyes. Upon getting to brain THC stimulates greater release of dopamine by brain cells. Dry mouth, dizziness, feeling of relaxation, altered perception of pictures, sounds, feeling of thirst and hunger, trembling hands. Sometimes among the effects can be present fear, panic, anxiety. When the euphoria goes away a person can feel sleepy or depressed.
How Does Marijuana Affect Mental Health?
The studies have proved that marijuana does significantly affect brain work. After inhalation of marijuana smoke the THC element very rapidly gets into the blood via lungs. The blood carries chemicals to all parts of your system, including brain. In one?s brain THC substances connect with cannabinoid receptors of the nerve cells affecting their activities and causing loss of concentration and coordination, memory loss, inadequate reality perception etc. The effect can last from few hours up to a few days, thus persons using marijuana on daily basis stay in the permanently intoxicated, act aggressively, have difficulty with problem solving and judgment etc.
Long-term use of marijuana can lead to addiction and withdrawal process can be rather painful causing the activation of stress-responses and changes in the nerve cells? (containing dopamine) activities. During the withdrawal users experience: anxiety, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, irritability etc lasting for about 1-2 weeks.
Marijuana abuse can be the reason of depression development, suicidal ideation and even schizophrenia. Within aging a person earlier using marijuana can experience significant memory problems.
How Does Marijuana Affect Physical Health
Studies have shown that marijuana, containing THC can become the reason of bacterial infections and cancer tumors. There are 50-70% more of carcinogenic hydrocarbons in marijuana smoke than in tobacco, thus it easily can cause lung cancer and cancer of other respiratory parts. THC decreases the body immune system?s ability to fight infections. As a matter of fact, while smoking the person in under a 4 times greater risk of getting a heart attack than under normal conditions, as marijuana stimulates the increase of blood pressure and heart rate and reduces the amount of oxygen in blood. Marijuana is also a cause of many accidents on the roads, as some people get in the car and start driving while still being intoxicated.
Types of Marijuana
Marijuana containing THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) as a main active element and over 400 of other substances can be of different types, the most wide-spread ones are:
- Winter Koning
- 7 Seconds
- Thai Stix
- Santa Maria
- Winter Weed
- Silver Haze
- Jack Herer
- Northern Lights
- Super Gold Thai
- Sensi Star
- White Widow
- Durban Poison
- Double Bubblegum
- pH 89
- Silver Shadow
- Purple Power
- Essential Flower