Marijuana is a mood altering or psychoactive drug that
has many nicknames, such as pot, weed, ganja, sensi, herb, and
others. It is an ancient drug that dates back to hundreds of
years to Asia. Many cultures have used it during meditation, religious
worship, and for intoxication. Marijuana itself comes from the
Indian Hemp plant. It is the third most widely used drug in the United
States, according to a survey taken in 1988, and it is the number one
illegally used drug in the United States. Marijuana is so popular that an
estimated one out of every three people in the US have tried it and
around 44% of US high school students have smoked it. Marijuana
users are not easily detectable, nor is the drug just used in one area of
society. The Indian Hemp plant is found all over the world, including
the US. There are three different types of Indian Hemp. They are
Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Rudderalis. These
three plants vary in size and mood altering effect. The hemp plant has
many uses and has been farmed for centuries. Marijuana can be taken
in three ways, by eating, made into a tea, or smoking (the most
popular). Smoking it can be done three ways, through a pipe, a joint,
blunt. A joint is a rolled piece of paper that is twisted at the ends. A
blunt is normally an emptied cigar wrapper filled with marijuana. In a
blunt you can fit much more marijuana. Though a blunt isn’t always
purely marijuana, it can be mixed with other drugs such as angel dust.
The results are varied when someone smokes marijuana.
Different people will get different results, and certain types of cannabis
can cause different effects. The amount of THC (marijuana’s main
active chemical) may also change the result. If alcohol, or other drug
use is occurring while smoking marijuana, the effect could be different.
A first time marijuana smoker will probably feel no effect. A chronic or
heavy user will get a high (intoxication). When a person is high, normal
sights, sounds, tastes, or events can seem very funny or interesting.
When intoxicated, time seems to pass a lot slower. To the user, minutes
will seem like hours. The intoxicated person may get very thirsty or
hungry, a common effect called, ” the munchies.” A few minutes after
the person inhales they will probably get a dry mouth, rapid heartbeat,
decreased reaction time, and also a loss of coordination. The blood
vessels in the user’s eyes will probably enlarge, giving the person a
blood shot appearance. Within 2 to 3 hours the effects will die down
and the person will feel sleepy.
How is marijuana harmful? There are many ways that
marijuana can harm the body, both the immediate effect and long term
effects. It often disables the users short-term memory and may cause
trouble with challenging tasks. Even very simple tasks can become a
struggle for someone who is high. A student that is under the influence
of marijuana may find it hard to learn or concentrate. A persons timing
and coordination are normally delayed by marijuana. As a result the
person will be very confused and useless.
The effect marijuana can have on the brain and central nervous
system are very serious. Smoking marijuana will reduce the strength
and speed of communications between the mind and body. This occurs
in the brain and muscles, causing the user to not be as focused. Short-
term marijuana use leads to a drowsiness and relaxing effect. This is
why marijuana users have trouble remembering things. A heavy dose
of marijuana can decrease the amount of blood pumped into the brain.
Marijuana effects the brain’s control over muscles also. Heavy usage of
marijuana can have a lasting effect on the users short-term memory.
The blood flow to the back of the brain is greater than the front, after
smoking. This is believed to cause the high sensation the user is after.
The short-term effect of marijuana will increase blood pressure
and pulse rate up to 16 points above normal. It will also slow down the
digestive processing of food. People who smoke marijuana often will
have a below normal pulse rate and blood pressure. A chronic user may
experience dizziness or even faint. A user may not even need to be high
to experience that, if the person stands up quickly they may faint. A
well-known and common effect is blood shot eyes, though this effect
wears off quickly.
How does marijuana effect the heart? During the time when the
user is high they will have an increased heart rate up to 50% above
normal. The amount the heart rate increases depends on the amount of
marijuana that was smoked. This will make exercise and other
activities seem a lot harder. The effect could be extremely dangerous
for a person with a congestive heart or with an irregular heartbeat. A
chronic smoker will have a decreased heart rate, often below normal.
The immediate effect of smoking marijuana on the lungs are a
brief opening of the bronchial tubes. That is why marijuana has been
tested for possible medical uses. It was not approved because there is a
rebound reaction, which closes up the user’s airways. Marijuana also
irritates lung tissue. The long-term effect of smoking marijuana
regularly is close to the effects of a tobacco cigarette smoker. Though
the amount of tobacco consumed by the cigarette smoker is a lot higher
than the amount of marijuana a chronic smoker will inhale, the harmful
ingredients in marijuana are a lot higher than the amount in tobacco,
causing a similar effect on the lungs. Marijuana smoke in the lungs will
kill cilia. Cilia moves mucous, dirt and other particles out of the lungs.
Also the heavy usage will decrease your lung’s defense against bacterial
and fungal infections.
Marijuana is very harmful yet very widespread. It is an illegal
drug that can harm almost every vital part of your body. It can make
your memory vanish and cause your heart rate to slow. You could
develop lung cancer or a dangerously low blood pressure. This drug
isn’t deadly, but close to it. It causes Americans everyday suffering just
for those few minutes or hours of a good feeling. Is it worth it?