Marijuana, also called weed, is from the plantCannabis sativa. Marijuana can be eaten, smoked, brewed, vaporized and taken topically; however, majority of the individuals smoke it. THC or tetrahydracannabinol is the intoxicating chemical present in marijuana. It has an effect on your mind and body any time it reaches your system.
Marijuana produces immediate effects on the body. Certain short-term effects of marijuana on the body are as follows:
Long-term effects of marijuana depend on the quantity you take, how you take and the frequency of use. Here are the effects on the following systems.
Similar to tobacco smoke, the smoke of marijuana also consists of various toxic chemicals such as hydrogen cyanide and ammonia that may irritate your lungs and bronchial passages. If you smoke regularly, you are more likely to cough, wheeze and produce phlegm. You also have an increased risk of getting lung infections and bronchitis. Marijuana may worsen existing respiratory problems such as cystic fibrosis and asthma.
Smoke of marijuana also contains carcinogens. It elevates your risk of getting lung cancer. However, there are mixed results of studies on the subject. National Institute of Drug Abuse states that there exists no conclusive evidence to the fact that lung cancer is caused by marijuana smoke. More research is required.
What does weed do to your body? From your lungs, THC travels into your blood and all through your body. Your heart rate may rise by 20-50 beats per minute within minutes of smoking weed. This raised heartbeat may remain for up to 3 hours. For individuals suffering from heart disease, this increases the risk of heart attack. Marijuana use causes the eyes to look red as it results in dilatation of the blood vessels of the eyes.
Central Nervous System
You may have impaired judgment as the manner in which the information is processed is changed by THC in the hippocampus. Formation of new memories may also become difficult during this time. Changes also occur in the basal ganglia and cerebellum, upsetting your coordination, balance and reflex response. Hence, driving is not safe when you are on a high.
Delusions or hallucinations may be caused due to taking very large doses of weed. An association has been found between certain mental health problems such as anxiety and depression and marijuana use. In schizophrenics, symptoms may get worse by using marijuana.
In young persons whose brains are not fully developed, a lasting impact on memory skills and thinking can occur due to marijuana use.
What does weed do to your body? According to some research, the immune system is affected by THC. Studies done on animals have demonstrated that the immune system might be damaged by THC, thereby increasing your risk for illness. More research is required.
Heavy use of marijuana can lead to symptoms of severe pain in stomach, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms are not relieved by any medical treatment. Smokers spend a lot of time in hot bath to relieve the symptoms.
Recently a condition referred to as Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome has been identified with increasing rate of abuse of weed. The sufferer has chronic weed abuse, cyclic episodes of vomiting and nausea and frequent hot bathing.
The reproductive system may also be affected by marijuana use, both in males and females. In studies done on animals, less testosterone is produced in males who are exposed to marijuana. Moreover, in human studies, it has been found that THC negatively affects testosterone production. THC reduces motility of sperms or their ability to swim properly, thereby contributing to infertility in males.
According to researchers, marijuana also affects female rats. They produced less amounts of female sex hormones such as estrogen and progesterone on exposure to marijuana. This may result in sexual dysfunction and affect the ovulation cycle. However, the studies on the effects of weed on fertility in females is inconclusive and the researchers do not know how much disruption of female sex hormones is required to bring about changes in sexual function and fertility.
Effects of Marijuana on Pregnant Females
What does weed do to your body? Pregnant females are especially at risk of developing ill-effects of smoking marijuana. According to one study, pregnant females who used marijuana were 5 times more likely to have babies with features similar to those present in fetal alcohol syndrome. Studies also demonstrate that weed use was linked to preterm delivery.
Effects of Marijuana on Breastfeeding Mothers
When a mother who is breastfeeding uses weed, the THC passes to the baby via the milk. Such infants have increased tremors, slow weight gain, poor sucking and poor feeding habits. According to studies, the child could show decreased motor skills when he/she is one year of age.