4 Main Effects of Marijuana on the Body
Marijuana is a widely consumed drug around the world, even though in most countries its cultivation and use are illegal. Considered by many as a natural substance and, therefore, harmless, the truth is that it brings with it many harmful effects on our health.
Here we will see what are the main effects of marijuana on the body, phenomena that end up affecting both our brain and the heart, lungs, and endocrine system, and consequences that we are going to delve into below. Stay to discover how this substance affects our body.
The psychotropic effect, brain damage, and mental disorders associated with marijuana
Marijuana or cannabis is one of the most widely used psychotropic substances on the planet, and it is also one of those with the largest number of crops. As its use is so widespread and popular, its negative effects tend to be downplayed, even considering it a soft drug or resorting to the naturalistic fallacy of “how bad for our health if Mother Earth brings it to us”.
However, the reality is that it is a drug, a substance that is harmful to our health, addictive, and potentially dangerous for our bodies. Our entire body can be damaged by this substance, altering our cardiac, respiratory, endocrine, and nervous systems. Unlike what many believe, it is a highly addictive substance and brings with it economic, family, and social problems, damages that although they occur outside the body affect the quality of life of the consumer.
As a psychotropic substance, cannabis has as its first consequences those that affect the nervous system. At the moment of taking it, the consumer feels a fleeting sensation of euphoria and joy, which can become manic, which leads them to find fun in trivial aspects, laughing irregularly and uncontrollably. It is the typical thing you see in movies and series, the classic scene of a “stoned” teenager who laughs at the shape and size of his hand, a crude but clear example of this effect.
The duration of these effects varies depending on the amount of marijuana consumed, in addition to the individual’s characteristics and whether it has been combined with other substances. Alterations to the nervous system are momentary, but if marijuana is consumed regularly it can involve long-term problems, even in the form of long-lasting and irreversible mental disorders.
Marijuana use affects the brain directly, damaging the areas responsible for such important functions as memory, learning, attention, decision-making, coordination, emotions, and reaction time. In the short term, it slightly affects attention, memory, and learning, in addition to having a negative influence on the mood, while it is in the long term and due to long-term use that more serious problems arise in all the areas mentioned.
Among the most affected brain areas we find:
- Basal ganglia
- ventral striatum
- brain stem
Marijuana brings with it more or less dangerous hallucinogenic effects. Many experts consider this characteristic to be one of the most important when it comes to causing addiction, since taking cannabis is linked to experiencing unrealistic situations, sometimes interpreted as mystical. Experiencing hallucinations can motivate to consume more, which leads to users developing dependence.
The main effects of marijuana on the body
Marijuana users have been seen to have a higher risk of presenting chronic mental disorders compared to non-users, mental problems among which are schizophrenia and its particular hallucinations. There is also a greater risk of suffering from psychosis, that is, loss of contact with reality and delusions. Additionally, marijuana has been linked to an increased risk of depression and anxiety along with suicidal thoughts in adolescence.
1. Sexual problems
Another of the effects of marijuana that can be observed in those who consume marijuana has to do with their sexual capacity. On a behavioral level, cannabis can generate a high degree of sexual disinhibition and, even, a greater predisposition to maintain intimate relationships.
Ironically, physiologically, the organism does not seem to be going in the same direction, since it is not surprising that after consuming maria the genitals do not respond, the quality of the sperm is reduced and its secretion accelerates, reaching orgasm before time and with less sense of pleasure. It also affects the eggs.
2. Respiratory problems
Cannabis consumed in an inhaled form, that is by smoking cigarettes or vaping, damages the respiratory system. It is this system that is most damaged by cannabis users since the most recurrent way to take this drug is by inhaling smoke, an element that damages lung tissues. The lung capacity is seriously compromised the more “joints” are smoked, increasing the risk of suffering from bronchitis, cough, and phlegm production, as well as lung cancer.
Secondhand marijuana smoke contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the chemical responsible for most of the psychotropic effects of this drug. In addition to THC, we also find many components shared with those of tobacco smoke, therefore, inhaling it, even if it is not directly smoking the cigarette, can affect the health and alter the behavior of non-smokers, including babies and children who are exposed.
3. Heart problems
It can be a bit shocking for many people to learn that marijuana affects the heart system. Recurrent or large-scale consumption can affect the heart’s ability to pump blood, causing it to not circulate properly through the body and causing a general feeling of weakness. When consumed in high doses, cannabis can cause tachycardias. Added to this, it can also lead to the following heart problems.
- High heart rate and blood pressure.
- Chest pain when exercising.
- Increased risk of a heart attack.
- Increased risk of strokes and mini-spills.
4. Addiction and withdrawal
Some people think that marijuana is not an addictive substance, that it is not even a drug. However, science and statistics dismantle this myth, since about 1 in 10 marijuana users becomes addicted, a proportion that goes from 1 to 6 in users under 18 years of age. Among the signs that indicate that the person may be addicted we find:
- Not being successful in quitting marijuana.
- Stop meeting family or friends to use marijuana instead.
- Continue consuming despite knowing that it involves health problems.
- Continue consuming even though consumption prevents a normal daily life.
The withdrawal syndrome that causes the cessation of marijuana use is one of the most important psychological consequences of marijuana. The need to use again, the feeling of nervousness if consumption is delayed (“craving”), and even attacks of anger due to the inability to consume is the most distinctive effects of addiction.
Effects of marijuana according to the mode of consumption
Although how marijuana is consumed implies some of the effects that we have seen reached here, it must be said that how it is done may imply a greater intensity and duration of the same.
The infusion of marijuana is the most common alternative to the inhaled one, being somewhat less harmful because it reduces the damage to the respiratory system and does not imply so much alteration to the nervous system.
In any case, even if it is a milder form of consumption of this substance, it is still a drug and therefore the risk of addiction or the other negative consequences associated with its use will not be suppressed.
One of the most popular ways to consume marijuana in recent years is ingested, in the form of food. There are many recipes in which this particular ingredient is introduced, preferring the sweet: cakes, cakes, brownies, cakes, candies, cookies, sodas, chocolate bars …
Unlike smoked marijuana, cannabis edibles can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to kick in , but they will last longer than they usually do by inhalation. Added to this, it is more likely that more THC is consumed eating food with cannabis, since in a serving of cookies or marijuana brownies there could be perfectly 100 mg of this substance, which means that eating a marijuana cookie would be like take many puffs on a cigarette at the same time.
We must bear in mind that cooking marijuana can increase some of the effects that this drug produces, which makes consumption in this way more dangerous than inhaling it. Smoking marijuana slightly reduces the effects of cannabis, while incorporating it fully into food keeps them unchanged. As a consequence of this, there are many cases of intoxication due to marijuana use caused by eating brownies or candies with this substance.