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Long term effects of marijuana use

May 14, 2012 by  
Filed under Marijuana

Long term effects of marijuana use

Long term effects of marijuana use

 

Marijuana is derived from hemp, also known as, Cannabis sativa, and is the most frequently used illegal substance in the United States. It continues to be a controversial topic of legal debate. Marijuana has multiple slang or street names such as; pot, weed, grass, bud, and ganja. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2007 nearly 6,000 people per day tried marijuana; and, of special concern, more than 62 percent were under the age of 18. Of the 400 chemicals in marijuana, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is responsible for marijuana’s effects or high on the brain.

The long term effects of marijuana aren’t as well known as the short term effects that happen immediately after smoking pot. Upon inhaling marijuana, THC quickly gets moved from the lungs or respiratory system into the blood or circulatory system. From there the blood transports THC to the brain and elsewhere throughout the entire body. Different areas of the brain have different quantities of receptors for cannabinoids which are affected by THC as they bind with the THC chemical. For example areas in the brain with multiple receptors include thinking ability, concentration, sensory perception, as well as perception of time, areas of memory and pleasure.

Long term effects of marijuana use produce multiple health problems later on in life beyond addiction to the actual marijuana itself. For example, some of the long term effects of marijuana use are associated with high scores of anxiety and depression, with increased suicidal thinking patterns as well as the diagnosis of schizophrenia. Another long term effect of marijuana use is how THC acts on the immune system, that is, it decreases the function of the immune system which can leave you more susceptible to frequent illnesses and infections. The long term effects of marijuana use in the respiratory tract are multiple because marijuana is more potent than tobacco use. This is because, according to, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana has 50 to 70 percent more carcinogenic properties than tobacco; therefore it may increase the likelihood of developing lung cancer or at least increased susceptibility to frequent lung infections or obstructed airway conditions. Another long term effect of marijuana use also may be sexual dysfunction.

Some of the long term effects of marijuana use are very similar to the short-term effects. For instance if the person is a chronic user of marijuana they may consistently include a burning sensation in the mouth, dry throat, bloodshot eyes, and increased appetite. The most consistent parts of the brain affected by long term effects of marijuana use and short term use are thinking, problem solving, judgment and comprehension as well as severely impaired short term memory. Physiologically, marijuana lowers blood pressure while increasing the heart rate by 20 to 100 percent which can be extremely dangerous. More or less the reason people use marijuana in such a way that produces long term effects of marijuana use is because of the euphoric state or sleepiness it produces but it can also produce anxiety, paranoia with hallucinations or panic attacks.

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