Marijuana is a highly damaging drug but unfortunately, statistics show that the number of Americans which believe that marijuana can have adverse effects is decreasing. It is most widely used drug in America with maximum number of users after alcohol. If the abuse is prolonged, it can cause serious damage to the body and mind. With continued use, the signs and symptoms of marijuana abuse can become obvious.
Hiding marijuana use and abuse is relatively easier as compared to other drugs. Looking for these signs in a loved one can help you figure out if they are struggling with marijuana addiction.
A number of changes in the behavior can be noticed. The addict cares about getting the drug by any means and ignores other responsibilities.
Health issues are also frequently experienced by marijuana addicts such as:
Marijuana addicts also exhibit a fearful behavior since in most of the cases, they are afraid of being caught.
Marijuana abuse has both long term and short term effects on brain.
Short Term Effects:
When marijuana is smoked, THC, the key ingredient present in the marijuana reaches the lungs. From lungs, it is diffused into the blood vessels and bloodstream carries the chemical to all parts of the body including brain. This is how marijuana produces its effects. The euphoric feeling is achieved very quickly when marijuana is inhaled. In case of edibles made from marijuana, it takes some time for the chemical to diffuse into blood and produce its effects. Usually, it can take 30 minutes to 1 hour after the consumption. This is the key reason young and inexperienced people are admitted to the emergency. They think they have not consumed enough marijuana to produce the effects so they keep taking more that results into an overdose.
After reaching the brain, marijuana acts on specific receptor cells in the brain and mimics the effects of natural neurotransmitters. Normally, those receptor cells are only stimulated by natural neurotransmitters that help the brain perform its usual functions. With the use of marijuana, a large number of these neurotransmitter like chemicals are provided that act on receptor cells and overexcite certain parts of the brain. This is the reason people feel euphoric, ecstatic and in some cases, depressed.
The other effects produced by the drug include:
Long Term Effects:
Continued use can be seriously damaging in the long run. The drug alters the brain in such a way that it fails to work normally, in the absence of drug. It is particularly true for individuals who start the use from a very young age. It can:
It produces these effects by preventing the brain from developing normal connections between different parts of the brain that are involved in these functions. If drug is used for a small time, these effects are reversible but if the use is prolonged, recovery becomes impossible.
Marijuana has its adverse health effects on both body and mind.
Marijuana can alter brain’s structure that results into:
Studies suggest that adverse effects of marijuana on brain such as decreased attention span, problem with focusing, poor memory and problems in learning new things can last for much longer periods. So the mental capabilities of marijuana users are greatly reduced causing them to work on a lower intellectual level than they are capable of. Studies have found that students who don’t smoke perform better at academics than the ones who do. Uncontrolled usage can result into even more serious consequences such as dropping out of school and suicidal tendencies.
Marijuana ends up affecting every aspect of a user’s life. The addicts have reported experiencing:
It is evident that marijuana addiction has far reaching consequences that a person might not be aware of at first. Marijuana is also considered a gateway drug that opens a way to other more harmful drugs. Its use is associated with an addiction to other substances as well, for example nicotine.