Effects of Marijuana

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Although many marijuana users believe that there are no negative effects of marijuana, this is not the case. Numerous scientific researchers have found many different health problems, both long and short term, from brain damage to heart failure. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the U.S and Canada. When smoked, it begins to take effect on users almost immediately and can last for one to three hours.

Some of the most common side effects are bloodshot eyes, dehydration (dry mouth), swollen eyelids, loss of coordination, and an accelerated heartbeat. Some of the short term effects in frequent users are anxiety and paranoia, impaired memory, difficulty thinking as well as a loss of attention and focus, increased heart rates, and reduced blood pressure. These effects are extremely harmful for everyone, but are more acutely distressing to a growing youth, especially one who hopes to be successful later in life. Long term effects include sever respiratory problems, heightened risk for infectious diseases especially cancer in the lungs, head/brain and neck. Short term memory loss, inability to shift attention normally, lack of motivation, decreased sperm count in men, and difficulty understanding simple concepts are also common problems.

The effects of marijuana on the brain are extensive. The active ingredient in marijuana is called delta-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC acts on cannabinoid receptors on nerve cells and influences the activity of those cells. These cells can be found in the brain and are usually near and on the part of the brain that controls pleasure, memory/thought processes, sensory and time perception. Damage to these cells is devastating especially to a developing teenager.

Within a few minutes of smoking marijuana, the heart will have begun pumping more rapidly; causing blood pressures to drop which forces the heart to beat twenty to fifty times more per minute. This effect can be increased even more if other drugs...
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