Marijuana use has traditionally been considered to be a gateway drug. It has also been viewed as less harmful and more innocent than other illicit drugs such as heroin or cocaine. As of late, there has been a lot of publicity about marijuana becoming legalized, which makes it seem even safer. The truth is that marijuana is a mind altering drug on the very simplest level.
THC potency has been increasing in marijuana for a few decades now. Along with a higher potency come greater risks. Today, marijuana contains more THC than ever before. Consider this and then factor in that marijuana also contains more than 400 additional chemicals. THC is absorbed into the fatty tissues of the body and can be detected long after it is used depending on how often it is used. Knowing all of this, how can marijuana be labeled as safe?
The short term effects of using marijuana will compromise the memory, the ability to learn, and lessen problem-solving skills. Smoking marijuana increases the heart rate, it increases the appetite, it causes dry mouth, it can cause paranoia and anxiety, and it causes respiratory problems, weakens the immune system, and can cause cancer.
Once marijuana is smoked it goes directly to the lungs and then to the bloodstream, then to the brain and other organs. THC distorts the brain’s receptors, particularly the cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are responsible for a person’s concentration, pleasure, memory, coordination, and perception of time. This means that people who partake in marijuana use often are likely not functioning at their highest intelligence because it does affect brain function.
Marijuana does have the potential to be addictive and people continue to abuse marijuana even though they know it is harmful. Research states that the younger the marijuana user the more likely they are to develop an addiction, in fact the number is double. Also, the longer a person abuses marijuana and the more they use will determine the withdrawal they will endure upon quitting.
When marijuana users try to quit it is very likely that they will suffer from a loss of appetite, insomnia, irritability, and anxiety. There is also an imminent need for more of the drug which is the cause of many unsuccessful attempts at quitting. These symptoms of withdrawal usually appear on day one of abstaining. They can last up to two weeks.
Marijuana also rears its head when linked to studies about mental health. These studies indicate that marijuana can be associated with depression, anxiety and even schizophrenia. Further, it is also suggested that the association is even greater when coupled with certain genetic or environmental factors.
Because marijuana accelerates the heart rate it is also possible that the chances of having a heart attack are much higher with individuals that have irregular heartbeats, arrhythmias, or palpitations. These studies do not stop with the damage that smoking marijuana can do to the heart. The lungs are vulnerable too. Marijuana smoke contains carcinogens that can be very harmful to the lungs. Truthfully, marijuana smoke has about 70% more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than cigarettes do.
There is also little doubt that marijuana abuse does lead to problems in a person’s everyday life. Heavy marijuana use can thwart a person’s mental and physical health and wellbeing, their ability to be productive cognitively, their careers, and their personal life. It is also proven through research that heavy marijuana smokers miss more work, are late more often, have more on the job accidents, employ more jobs, and put in more workman’s comp claims than one who does not smoke marijuana.
What might be the most important factor to consider is the fact that there is help available to quit smoking marijuana. People that have smoked marijuana for a long time have a harder time quitting successfully and most have tried several times. There are successful ways to quit smoking marijuana and to get your life back on track again and start living productively once again.