The Effects of Smoking Marijuana

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The effects of smoking marijuana on the body and mind

There are many reasons why some people start taking drugs. Many of these are social. But with the very first use, chemical changes occur in the brain that may lead to addiction. Drug addiction is a disease. And with every additional use, the user increases his or her chance of becoming addicted. Drugs are chemicals. They work in the brain by tapping into the brain's communication system and interfering with the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and process information. “Marijuana has a chemical in it called tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC. A lot of other chemicals are found in marijuana, too—about 400 of them, some of which are carcinogenic. Pot affects a user’s judgment, motor coordination, and short-term memory. Weed can cause increased heart rate and make some users extremely anxious or paranoid. Smoking marijuana also causes some changes in the brain similar to those caused by long-term use of cocaine and heroin” (.Marijuana: Facts for Teens, Revised, NIDA, September 2004). The way the drug affects each person depends on many factors, including: user's previous experience with the drug; how strong the marijuana is (how much THC it has); what the user expects to happen; where the drug is used; how it is taken; and whether the user is drinking alcohol or using other drugs. Some people feel nothing at all when they smoke marijuana. Others may feel relaxed or high. Sometimes marijuana makes users feel thirsty and very hungry—an effect called "the munchies."Some users can suffer bad reactions from abusing marijuana. They may experience sudden feelings of anxiety and have paranoid thoughts. This is more likely to happen when a more potent variety of marijuana is used. Marijuana affects memory, judgment, and perception. The drug can make you mess up in school, in sports or clubs, or with your friends. If you’re high on marijuana, you are more likely to make mistakes that could embarrass or...
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