apersEffects of Marijuana
Everyone has this question of what marijuana actually is. Usually one would think that everybody knows. But the actual truth, is not many people know what marijuana is. Marijuana is a mixture of leaves, stems, and flowering top’s of the Indian plant Cannabis sativia (usually smoked or eaten for its hallucinogenic and pleasure-giving effects). Its chemical ingredients include the “psychoactive THC- known as tetrahydrocannabinol”, which is concentrated in the flowering tops, hashish a drug that is prepared from the plant resin which contains eight times more THC than marijuana. Marijuana grows only in certain temperate regions, particularly dry and hot lands. Except for limited medical purposes, marijuana is illegal in almost all, but a few countries. In the United States marijuana is illegal. It is an issue which is greatly debated, used, and abused everyday in our country. In this chapter of our research paper you are going to read about the question-“Does marijuana actually effect the brain?”-
In medical terminology there are several cases of brain disorders which can result from causes ranging from physical injury to complex chemical imbalances. In the research papers case, complex chemical imbalances. There are three types of disorders:
The first one cerebral injury, is developed by a blow to the head. The person may be stunned, in a daze, or may become unconscious for a moment. This is usually known as a concussion. Fortunately, this does not leave any permanent damage. However, if the blow is severe; hemorrhage and swelling occurs, which results in a tumor that can be removed surgically.
The second type of brain disorder is Brain-Stem damage. This occurs in the upper brain stem. If one were to have this, there are several symptoms that can occur. Such as: a loss in appetite, extraordinary thirst with excessive urination, and failure in body temperature-a very low temperature and last but not least uncontrolled anger or aggression. However, if one were to smoke marijuana he usually develops a big appetite, does not develop excessive urination, and his body temperature remains at the regular 98.6 degrees. If any similarly, a marijuana smoker does develop thirst, but so does a runner, regular smoker (coffee and a cigarette for breakfast-go to Dunkin Donuts and visit a couple police officers), an alcoholic and last but not least any hospital patient. Also when one smokes marijuana he develops a sense of laziness, mellowness, and sleepiness (not like alcoholic who acts crazy and hyper). The only time when a marijuana abuser may develop anger or aggression is if he has no money to pay for a joint!
The last type of brain disorder is known as a stroke. A stroke historically known as apoplexy, occurs when a major artery in the brain is blocked. This blockage may be caused by blood clot, a compression of a blood vessel, or a rupture of the vessel that is accompanied by bleeding. There has only been five cases of people who developed a blood clot by smoking marijuana. However, three out of the five were also heavy consumers of alcohol. The remaining two were regular marijuana smokers. They developed their tumors after smoking marijuana at least once a day for thirty-one years. If you calculate it out for one individual, it comes out to be 22,630 joints of marijuana. That is a lot of marijuana they both consumed!
However, a alcoholic usually develops a tumor within fifteen years. That is half the years the marijuana smokers had.
The answer to the question, does marijuana effect the brain? Marijuana does not effect the brain in damage, but it can alter in functions. Marijuana effects the perception of time, distance, and speed. It upsets motor coordination, causing unsteady hands, a change in gait, uncontrolled laughter, and a lag between thought and facial expressions. Sexual functions can also be disturbed. Short-term memory deteriorates. In early stages of the use of marijuana, some users will suffer from nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Most users may find that when they are high the whites of their eyes and facial skin become red, and the pupils dilate and become sensitive to light, increase in appetite, and a dryness in the mouth and throat. What all these effects have in common is that they result from changes in the brain’s control centers, located deep in the brain. “Deep brain functions separated from conscious thought processes. The deep relay centers feed information to the controlling mechanisms of the consciousness.” So, when marijuana disturbs functions centered in the deep control centers, disorienting changes in the mind occur (I think that is right). The user’s psychomotor coordination becomes impaired. One may suffer or develop illusions and hallucinations, have a difficulty in remembering events which just occurred, slowed thinking and a narrow attention span, “depersonalization, euphoria or depression, drowsiness or insomnia, difficulty in making accurate self-evaluation, a loss of judgment, and mental and physical lethargy.”
In a study in Maryland, hundreds of marijuana addicts from high schools, universities, prisons, and drug programs were studied for six to nine years. The researchers observed thought disorders and identified it as cannibis syndrome. This is known as a decrease in motivation. The marijuana addicts could not recognize the effects in themselves. After giving up the drug for seven to nine weeks they realize they have recovered a sense of motivation.
According to another study that was developed by Dr. Heath and several other doctors in 1972, they discovered brain wave patterns being altered in the septal region. This occurs by the THC (drug in marijuana) bundles up or accumulates in and alters fatty structures of cell membranes. The THC accumulates at the fat interface and causes the film of fatty material to be restructured. This leads to a specialized structure of the cell surface. Basically you are remodeling your cell membranes. However, one is not destroying his cell membranes, he is just restructuring them. When you destroy brain cells or cell membranes they can not be replaced. A marijuana smoker does not destroy his cells, he is altering them or damaging them. If the marijuana smoker were to quit smoking, the damaged cells will repair by themselves. If you compare this with alcohol, the drinker destroys his brain cells, leading to less of them. So by smoking marijuana you are probably at better risk.
Another sensory experience that deals with the brain is tolerance and dependance. Tolerance is the gradual loss of sensitivity to the effects of a given drug. In this case marijuana. Marijuana users build up tolerance to most of the effects of THC, although at different rates of different effects. The frequent users of marijuana will have fewer alterations in mood, cognition, and physiological function per dose than less experienced users. The regular use of very high doses of marijuana can produce or develop to a mild physical dependence. Psychological dependence can also occur. For example, if a user has major life problems because of marijuana, he will find it hard to give it up. There have been no documented reports of death from a marijuana overdose ( with alcohol there has). Many researchers state that a very large amount would be required to cause death by a overdose.
In 3000 B. C, marijuana in Central Asia and China was used as a folk medicine. In the 1400’s to the 1800’s it was used as energy booster. After consuming cannabis or smoking it one would feel recuperated or full of energy. It was encouraged for slaves and mine- workers. The more they smoked the faster things would be done. Then in the 1900’s, it came back to be a pleasure drug. But, when the 1960’s-70’s came about the use of marijuana became very popular among students. It developed as the second most popular drug. The first was alcohol. Still today marijuana has not been proven to be physically addictive, and no physical withdraw symptoms occur when it is not in use, however a psychological dependence does develop(stated above). Last of all, Medical research has still not found any causes of brain damage occurring by smoking marijuana.
Growing up in the metro-politan Detroit area I have seen my friends abuse drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. I feel that marijuana and other drugs should be legal because it would help out our country in many ways. Not just because my friends do it, but just because of the results of other countries doing it. Amsterdam and India have made it legal, and there are no problems dealing with crime or drug activity. In the United States, almost 75% of crime activity is influenced with drugs. I feel by legalizing it, the percentage rate would go down. Sometimes I think I am too young to think of ideas like this. Maybe my reasonings will change as I develop more education on life and school. But as for now, I think they should legalize the use of marijuana.
apersEffects of Marijuana