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Transcript of Marijuana
• Marijuana is usually smoked as a cigarette or in a pipe.
• It is also smoked in blunts, which are cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with a mixture of marijuana and tobacco.
• This way of smoking combines marijuana's ingredients with nicotine and other harmful chemicals.
• Marijuana can also be mixed in food or made as a tea.
How Does Marijuana Affect the Brain?
• When someone smokes marijuana, THC rapidly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, which carries the chemical to the brain and other organs in the body.
• THC acts on specific sites in the brain, called cannabinoid receptors, causing cellular reactions that lead to the "high" that users experience when they smoke marijuana.
• Some brain areas have many cannabinoid receptors; others have few or none.
• The highest density of cannabinoid receptors are found in parts of the brain that affect pleasure, memory, thinking, concentrating, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement.
What is Marijuana?
• Marijuana is the most commonly used drug in the United States.
• It is a dry mix of green and brown flowers, stems, leaves and seeds from the plant “Cannabis Sativa”.
• The main active chemical in marijuana is called “THC”.
Is Marijuana addictive?
• Long-term marijuana abuse can lead to addiction which is defined as being: drug abuse while knowing the harmful effects upon functioning in the context of family, school, work, and recreational activities.
• Research suggests that about 9 percent of users become addicted to marijuana.
• Long-term marijuana users trying to quit report withdrawal symptoms including: irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety, and drug craving.
• These symptoms begin within about 1 day after quitting, peak at 2-3 days, and fade within 1 or 2 weeks.
Effects of Marijuana on the Nervous System
• THC acts on cannabinoid receptors which are found on neurons in many places in the brain.
• These brain areas are involved in memory (the hippocampus), concentration (cerebral cortex), perception (sensory portions of the cerebral cortex) and movement (the cerebellum).
• When THC activates cannabinoid receptors, it interferes with the normal functioning of these brain areas. In low to medium doses, marijuana causes:
• reduced coordination
• reduced blood pressure
• disruption in attention
• an altered sense of time and space...a good reason not to drive or operate machinery while under the influence.
In high doses, marijuana can cause:
• impaired memory
Marijuana and Mental Health
• Studies have shown a link between chronic marijuana use and increased rates of anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia.
• Some of these studies have shown age at first use to be an important risk factor, where early use is more likely to cause mental health issues.
• However, at this time, it is not clear whether marijuana use causes mental problems or not.
Effects on the Heart
• Marijuana increases heart rate by 20-100 percent shortly after smoking; this effect can last up to 3 hours.
• It was estimated that marijuana users have a 4.8 times increase in the risk of heart attack in the first hour after smoking the drug.
• This may be due to increased heart rate and the effects of marijuana on heart rhythms, causing palpitations and arrhythmias.
• This risk may be greater in older people or in those with cardiac problems.
Effects on the Lungs
• Marijuana smoke contains carcinogens and to be an irritant to the lungs.
• Marijuana smoke contains 50-70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke.
• Marijuana users usually inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than tobacco smokers do, which increases the lungs' exposure to carcinogenic smoke.
• Marijuana smokers can have many of the same respiratory problems as tobacco smokers, such as:
o Daily cough and phlegm production
o More frequent acute chest illness
o A heightened risk of lung infections
MARIJUANA Medical Marijuana… Good or Bad?
• Many doctors argue that using medical marijuana can be a safe and effective treatment for the symptoms of cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, pain, glaucoma, epilepsy, and other conditions.
• People against it argue that it is too dangerous to use, lacks FDA-approval, and that various legal drugs make marijuana use unnecessary.
• The opposition says that marijuana is addictive, leads to harder drug use, interferes with fertility, impairs driving ability, and injures the lungs, immune system, and brain.
Is Marijuana Legal?
• The legality of cannabis has been the subject of debate and controversy for decades.
• Marijuana is illegal to consume, use, possess, cultivate, transfer or trade in most countries.
• Medicinal use of marijuana is legal in a number of countries, including Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Israel and 15 states of the United States.
Medical Marijuana: What is the Evidence?
Controlled clinical trials with THC - not smoked marijuana- have shown a beneficial effect in relieving nausea and vomitting during cancer chemotherapy. However, other medications have been developed which have proved exceedingly effective in suppressing nausea and vomiting as well.
Therefore, medical marijuana is not usually necessary. By Siba and Bashar Haidar