Marijuana and Consciousness

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Marijuana and Consciousness

Does marijuana create an altered state of consciousness, or does it simply allow users to interpret more information at a quicker speed giving us the illusion of being "stoned"? For many years people of all ages have been using marijuana mainly for recreational purposes, not knowing that it increases their senses and perhaps even helps cure or prevent disease. After many carefully constructed experiments, it is now accepted by several scientists around the world that marijuana effects the human body as a whole, thus creating an altered state of consciousness.

The impending paragraphs will discuss how marijuana users are affected while intoxicated. Some of the areas that will be covered include how marijuana affects the users long-term and short-term memory, as well how marijuana has the ability to construct false memories. The paragraphs will also discuss how the human body changes as a whole, how users perceive themselves at any particular time, the way in which individual senses increase with the use of marijuana, and finally the psychological affects that may differ from user to user depending on their current emotional state.

Long-term memory is crucial to human processing, without it people would remember nothing. Marijuana in some cases can actually heighten long-term memory. For example, some marijuana users may experience distance memories such as childhood experiences more vividly while intoxicated then when not under the influence. This is said to happen because while intoxicated, users are in a "dream like state", allowing the brain to bring back memories which may have been forgotten (Lenson, 2001). For example, many users tend to reminisce with old friends about experiences they may have had many years earlier. With that said, long-term memory or recall can also worsen with very high levels of intoxication. For example, while intoxicated people have a tendency to forget what they were going to do, or sometimes they will complete a task without knowing why they did so (Tart, 2001). There is no complete explanation for why this happens, but one reason may be that because marijuana increases human senses, it allows more information to be processed in a smaller amount of time. As a result, there may be too much information available and certain things may be temporarily forgotten. Another possible reason why this may occur is because short-term memory is also affected. Accordingly you may forget to complete a task simply because you never stored it in memory in the first place, causing you to forget what you were supposed to do as soon as you thought of it. In instances where an individual completes tasks without the knowledge or awareness of why they did it, it may be because when they started the task they knew what they were doing, but by the time they finished, they had been distracted with other various stimuli, allowing them to forget the reason for doing that particular task in the first place.

Short-term memory is very important in our everyday lives. It is what allows people to remember many various things such as, phone numbers, directions to a friends house, and so on. Short-term memory impairment is fairly obvious with marijuana users. Many of the times users frequently forget the beginning of a conversation, or even the beginning of a sentence, but regularly they are still able to complete what they were saying without any knowledge of the topic (Tart, 2001). It is still unknown why this happens, but it is feasible that it relates back to the problem of too much information being processed faster then usual, allowing for distractions to take over the person's mind, making them forget what they were originally talking about.

A very common incident that happens while heavily intoxicated is the presence of thinking that someone had said something that they never actually said, creating false memories. This happens because marijuana is...
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