Marijuana is a derivative of the ‘cannabis’ plant, a psychoactive herbaceous plant which is known for its derivatives with medicinal, psychoactive properties.
Cannabinoids are the main, mind altering substances derived from the cannabis plant, which are responsible for the ‘high’ achieved by their consumption. A few of its many effects included increased appetite, an altered perception of surroundings, and euphoria. Two of the main components are CBD and THC. the addictive potential of THC is less than that of CBD.
HOW MARIJUANA WORKS
When you smoke marijuana, some common slangs for which are ‘weed, ‘grass’, ‘herb’ or ‘pot’, the inhaled chemicals travel to your lungs, from where they are absorbed into the bloodstream and thence travel to the brain. Within the brain, they cause the release of a chemical known as dopamine, which gives a sensation of being ‘high’. Euphoria is the most significant side effect of smoking pot, which is what is sought after.
Marijuana consumed orally/chewed has delayed and less significant effects of euphoria and increased appetite.
MEDICAL USES OF MARIJUANA
Medical marijuana has been shown to reduce the effect of chemotherapeutic agents. It specially counters nausea, pain and loss of appetite in cancer and HIV patients. Limited research has also shown marijuana to reduce seizures in epileptic patients. It can also make you feel relaxed and less anxious. Large doses, however, have been shown to cause hallucinations, paranoia, and in some cases, delusions. It can also worsen pre existing medical respiratory problems, such as asthma or COPD.
Studies link routine, long term use to mental illness, depression, anxiety, less motivation, and suicidal thoughts among young people. Marijuana use during pregnancy can raise the risk of health problems in babies. Marijuana use can also result in addiction.
Recent times have seen a change in attitude towards marijuana, resulting in widespread acceptance of the drug at a social level. The fact remains, though, that if abused and/or used in an excess to what is normal for the human body, the physical effects and addiction potential are real worries. There are widespread movements underway in several countries of the world, asking for the legalization of pot. It is already legal in 9 of the 50 states of USA. Cities where it is legal can be found here.
MYTHS VS FACTS
The following are some (corrected) myths about marijuana in pop culture that aren’t necessarily true:
Myth: Marijuana suppresses appetite. Fact check: Marijuana acts on the hypothalamus of the brain, which is the nerve center for basic bodily functions such as sleep, appetite and libido. Cannabinoids stimulate the neurons in this part of the brain to work harder, resulting in increase in hunger.
Myth: Synthetic Marijuana is safe. Fact check: Marijuana in the natural form is safer than street marijuana. Street marijuana, also known as Spice and K2, can be up to 100 times more potent than its natural form and can have devastating effects of uncontrolled hallucinations, psychosis, and even death.
Myth: You cant overdose on Marijuana. Fact check: While a lethal, fatal dose with ingesting however a huge amount of weed is just not possible ( you will need to consume several lbs of marijuana at once to achieve that), taking in a larger than recommended dose of weed can give severe, undesired side effects, including loss of control over ones limbs, psychosis including hallucinations, vomiting and dizziness.
Myth: You can cheat on a urine test. Fact check: Although many substances are now available that claim they will allow the THC (breakdown product of weed in the body) to pass into your urine incognito, the fact remains that all these synthetic products do is dilute your urine. THC still remains recognizable. Occasional use of weed can be detected in your urine up to 10 days after consumption ; chronic use results in the by product being detectable for up to 1 month.