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Effects of Marijuana

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Basics

Marijuana is made from a mixture of buds, leaves, and flowering tops of the hemp plant that grows in warm climates throughout the world. While the drug preparation and storage greatly affects its level of potency, it usually contains several hundred active chemicals. Of these many chemicals, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the one credited as having the greatest affect on the user. THC produces a variety of hallucinogenic, depressant, and stimulant effects. Users report a range of feelings while under the influence of the drug, varying from joy and relaxation, to suspicion and irritation. The “high” produced by marijuana causes physical changes such as reddening of the eyes, fast heartbeat, increased blood pressure, dry mouth, dizziness, and increased appetite.

Effects on the Body

Many feel that marijuana has few adverse side effects on the body; however, this is not always the case. With its high intoxication potential, it has a low dependency potential and low risk of organ damage or death. On the other hand, the consequences of marijuana should not be ignored. It may have negative effects on memory for heavy users. Moreover, information learned while under the influence of this drug is easily forgotten, which is why chronic smokers are at a disadvantage at school and at work. Using marijuana with especially high potencies can be quite dangerous. High levels of THC can cause panic attacks, similar to those produced by hallucinogenic drugs, and the users can feel like they are losing their minds. There are indications that regular marijuana smoking may lead to lung disease and lung cancer as well.

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