Marijuana is the drug of choice for many people. Not only is it bad for the health of the user, but it is also unregulated and illegal in the United States. Weed is an addictive, illegal drug, and users of the drug can experience many adverse effects. These adverse effects of marijuana addiction can be mental, such as anxiety, depression, hallucinations, and bad dreams, etc. They can also be physical, such as acute bronchitis, gastrointestinal problems, lung cancer, heart attack, reproductive system ailments, and fetal anomalies.
Marijuana is a substance that is addictive. Among the users of each substance, approximately 33 percent of tobacco users will become addicted, 24 percent of heroin users, 18 percent of cocaine users, and 16 percent of alcohol users. Heroin and cocaine cause more physical harm to the users; however, the harm caused by weed is anything but negligible.
In the United States, approximately 76 percent of illegal drug abusers have used weed. For 54 percent of them, marijuana was the only illegal drug used. Young adults and children in the 8th through 12th grades use marijuana. Children that are in the 8th grade have admitted to smoking weed. A total of 12 percent of them admitted using the drug in the last year. A total of 7 percent admitted to being recent users. Youngsters that are in the 10th grade admitted to using weed as well. A total of 27 percent of them used the drug in the last year. A grand total of 16 percent used the drug recently. Among students in the 12th grade, smoking weed was a hobby and 33 percent of the students admitted to using the drug in the last year. That percentage decreases to 21 percent for recent use.
Short-Term Effects On Brain Function
When marijuana is used, it changes the brain and the brain’s operation. These problems include:
- change in the short-term memory
- no sense of time
- sensory perception
- attention span
- ability to solve a problem
- ability to speak intelligently
- reaction time
- psychomotor control
Some people that use marijuana can experience a calm jubilation and rest, while other users experience anxiety, mistrust of others, and reactions of alarm. A lot of people think that the effects of marijuana do not last long; however, those that do not feel or appear to be under the influence still demonstrate unusual behavior when tested.
Long-Term Effects On Brain Function
Long-term use of marijuana shows that the brain function never completely recovers. Almost unnoticeable brain impairments persist over time. They are subtle, but very important. The speed that the brain processes information is one of the long-term effects of smoking weed. Other long-term effects of pot usage on brain function are:
- decreased cerebral blood flow
- electrophysiology (EPS)
- glucose metabolism
- structural anatomy
The receptors in the brain that are affected by marijuana are established in the cerebellum, the basal ganglia, the amygdala, the hippocampus, and the prefrontal cortex. These areas of the brain change during an individual’s childhood and teen years. These areas are very vulnerable to the adverse consequences of marijuana. These consequences lead to physiologic transformations and morphological transformations during childhood.
Adverse Effects On Physical Health
Marijuana causes irritation to the lining of the lungs and damages the cells that are in the bronchial tubes. This causes the respiratory system to function without the ability to remove toxins and defend against microorganisms. Smoking marijuana can also cause inflammation in the lungs to increase, thereby producing shortness of breath, wheezing, cough, and increased amounts of phlegm. Chronic smokers can count on having acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis.
The marijuana smoker carries a risk for cancer in the lungs, head, and neck. The drug causes gene and biochemical alterations in the respiratory system that are known to be markers of cancer. The drug also produces carcinogenic hydrocarbons that are known to cause lung cancer.
Marijuana usage makes the heart beat faster and raises the blood pressure. Both of these, together, make the heart work harder. This increases the risk for a heart attack and for those with preexisting heart disease; this can be very serious. Marijuana usage increases a person’s risk for a heart attack more than four times over.
Marijuana adversely affects the reproductive system when used in terms of reproductive physiology that includes reduction in sperm production, fertilization, ovulation, implantation, fetal growth, placental function, number of pregnancies completed, lactation, and ability of a newborn to suckle. Birth defects can occur in marijuana smokers. When a baby is exposed to the smoke while in the uterus, it can have an increased chance of suffering from specific birth defects that include ventricular septal defect (VSD). This is a defect in the wall that divides the left and right ventricles of the heart. The heart wall may have one or more holes in it.
Addiction to marijuana is joined with a condition known as withdrawal syndrome. Withdrawal syndrome is comparable to nicotine withdrawal, and it can make it difficult for the individual to stop using the drug. Now, we know that whatever the names of the substance are, marijuana, weed, grass, pot, or Mary Jane, it can be addictive.
About ten percent of casual users will progress to become addicts with problems that impede the flow of their lives. Individuals should employ other coping tools to manage their lives other than marijuana. This drug seems to be harmless, but do not be fooled by the appearance of this drug because marijuana can wreak havoc on your life, your body, and your health. Marijuana addiction is no joke.