Marijuana And More

Marijuana is one of the most controversial drugs of all. While the pitfalls of smoking this mixture of dried stems and flowers of hemp (Cannabis sativa) is not a secret, some claim it to be a benign drug which doesn’t cause any long-term effects on human mind and body. Though people dying of marijuana overdose are yet to be reported, studies have revealed noticeable changes in brain functionality due to prolonged marijuana drug abuse. Marijuana is commmonly referred to as weed, mary jane, and ganja.

marijuana plant

Photo credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Young_cannabis.jpg

A research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has showed evidence that marijuana addiction gets in the way of human brain development, at least in case of adolescents.

How does marijuana affect the human brain?

marijuana joint

Photo credit: http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/08/28/readers-view-would-health-risks-put-you-off-smoking-cannabis/

Cannabis plant contains 60 cannabinoids or psychoactive compounds out of which tetrahydrocannibolor (THC) happens to be the most active culprit that imposes negative effects on the brain. On smoking weed, THC enters the bloodstream via lungs and finally makes its way into the brain. There, it binds to the cannabinoid receptors and activates them, thus altering its actual behavior.

cannabis-brain-cr

Photo credit: http://www.godandscience.org/doctrine/medical_marijuana_review.html

These receptors are responsible for concentration, memory, coordinated movement, time perception and pleasure. No wonder marijuana smokers have trouble in eliciting past events and learning new errands while smoking pot. As this leads to an addiction, it hampers the overall intellect and eventually leads to psychological disorders like depression, stress and schizophrenia. It’s time to take a look at some short and long term effects of the user’s mind.

Short-term effects

  • Panic attacks
  • Delayed reaction time
  • Lack of sensory actions
  • Drowsiness after initial feeling of euphoria

Long-term effects

  • Apathy
  • Impaired cognitive abilities
  • Mood swings
  • Personality changes

effects-of-cannabis

Image credit: http://montereybayholistic.wordpress.com/2013/01/31/medicinal-marijuana/

Quitting it is not an easy job! So if you have made up your mind to free yourself from marijuana addiction, prepare yourself to face the withdrawal effects like irritability, persistent longing to smoke pot, dry mouth, anxiety, radical loss of appetite and insomnia.

Negative impacts on the human body

The ill effects of marijuana are not restricted to the human brain. Our physical wellbeing has to confront the snares of marijuana addiction too. A major study revealed that smoking one cannabis joint can lead to lung damages equivalent to that caused by smoking five cigarettes back to back. No wonder, occurrence of cancer is common among marijuana smokers. Smoking marijuana can lead to the other effects in our body as well:

  • Increased heartbeat
  • Deterioration of immune system
  • Inflamed respiratory tract
  • Reduced resistance to infections
  • Deformed sperm structure
  • Reduced libido
  • Temporary sterility
  • Disrupted nerve cells
  • Irregular menstrual cycle in female marijuana smokers.

Health benefits of marijuana

In contrary to its severe drawbacks, cannabis can evolve into one of the most powerful healing plants with proper use. So seek the help of marijuana if you are tormented by any one of the following diseases:

Cancer: Marijuana contains antioxidants that prevent tumor growth and kills the cancer cells too.

HIV: Though studies still remain in the preliminary stages, certain chemicals are discovered in marijuana which triggers the inhibition of HIV during the advanced stage of AIDs.

Seizures: Marijuana has antispasmodic abilities which can bring down the number of seizure attacks in its patient.

Migraines: Over 0.3 million migraine patients are reported to be cured after being treated with marijuana.

Alzheimer’s disease: While we all grumble about how marijuana harms our brain, do you know that in 2006, the Scripps Institute has demonstrated that THC blocks certain brain depositions that cause Alzheimer’s disease?

So ditch marijuana smoking and include hemp in your balanced diet. So why not blend up the raw hemp flowers and leaf into a juice and sip in at least 4 oz of it every day? Or you can also consider tossing up hemp seed sprouts into a yummy salad.

Other uses of marijuana

The industrial use of cannabis is one of the lesser known cannabis facts. The cannabis fibers are great for manufacturing twines, carpets, ropes, paper and fabrics. The cannabis seed oil is used in making personal hygiene products like soap, shampoos and other cosmetics while dried out hemp plants are used as animal bedding and fodder in farms or turned into mushroom compost.

Acceptance of Marijuana in the Caribbean Islands

Like most countries, the Caribbean Islands have strict laws which prohibit marijuana possession. However, the minor economies of the islands are considering decriminalizing marijuana with Puerto Rico taking the lead. Miguel Pereira, a Puerto Rican senator has proposed to make the drug laws flexible and legalize the possession of up to 1 oz of marijuana.

The wave of marijuana acceptance has hit St. Lucia and Jamaica too, the latter being one of the prime marijuana producers in the Caribbean. National discussions are being held to bring changes in legislations related to marijuana and bring down the court and prison costs. However, legalization of marijuana is yet to be finalized since this might lead to decertification by U. S narcotic control department.

So, it’s only a matter of time until we know which Caribbean Island takes the first step to decriminalize marijuana.

By: Liya Das

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