Marijuana and It’s Affects on Teens
COM220 Final Project
Thousands of young teens do it; over 140 million people worldwide use it. What could it be? It is called Marijuana and it is the most widely used illegal drug in the United States today, Over 46 percent of people aged 12 and older have admitted to using marijuana at least once in their lifetime. (1) Marijuana is considered a major gateway drug in teens which means after using marijuana it often leads to doing other kinds of drugs. Marijuana seems to alter the brain when used and heavy marijuana use may damage the developing brain in teens and it’s practically just as bad as cigarettes are for you. Effects from marijuana use include decreased hand eye coordination, damage to your lungs and throat, and increased risk of upper respiratory problems. Some teens and adults may think marijuana use is cool but it can do serious damage to your body when used. Many parents and people in general have questions what is it and where does it come from? Some of you may already know but marijuana is a type of plant derived from the Middle East which comes in the color of green or brown. The marijuana plant produces leaves, stems, and buds which contain THC. THC stands for tetrahydrocannibinol, and is what causes the “high” feelings and the mind changing effect after this chemical enters the body.(2) The effects such as short-term memory loss can occur; also misjudgment can be a major factor especially when making decisions while driving. People are killed in car accidents every year due to the lack of perception and misjudgment people have when they decide to use marijuana. There are three major ways of using Marijuana it can be consumed in the form of a pill which is prescribed by a doctor, you can make it a special way in your food and eat it or even make it liquid from and drink it but the most common way of using marijuana is by smoking it through a pipe, water pipe, cigar or even in a cigarette form. Marijuana can be grown and found all over the world. In some places marijuana also grows wildly. After the user inhales this drug it enters the body and begins to make its way into the blood stream, when it is in your blood stream it has access to the whole body. The most affected part of your body especially when you are young is the brain. When it is in your brain it taps into the brains receptors and then THC triggers brain cells to release the chemical dopamine. This chemical is only meant to be released in regulated doses. For instance when you accomplish an important task at your work and your boss highly complements you on it, that smile that you cannot control is the release of dopamine. When this chemical dopamine is abused and released in high amounts, your body can not refill it very quickly. When your body is derived from dopamine it causes depression, anxiety and sadness until it is replenished. Effects can also be unpredictable when marijuana is used in combination with other drugs, which unfortunately sometimes these effects can be deadly. Abusers of marijuana with heart conditions can have severe heart problems down the road. When inhaled into the system the bronchial passages in become enlarged because they actually become relaxed and then blood vessels in your eyes start to expand as well causing the blood shot eyes. As all this is happening the heart is rapidly trying to supply more blood to these enlarged blood vessels. This process can speed the heart up from 70 to 80 beats per minute straight up to 160 beats per minute(3), and can cause a heart attack.
When THC is present in one’s system, it searches for both brain cells, and neurons with specific kinds of receptors called cannabanoid receptors and those are what THC latches on to. We have high concentrations of cannabinoid receptors; these are located in the cerebellum, cerebral cortex, and hippocampus, which cause one’s balance and coordination to be greatly affected...
References: 1. (2009). Your brain on marijuana. Available: http://drugrehabtreatment.com/brain-on-marijuana.html. Last accessed 11/30/2009.
2. (2008). Mental Health, Marijuana use and its effects. Available: http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/marijuana-use-and-its-effects.
3. (2005). National Institute on Drug Abuse. NIDA Research Report: Marijuana Abuse (http://www.drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Marijuana/
4. (2007). National Institute on Drug Abuse. Monitoring the Future. National Results on Adolescent Drug Use. Overview of Key Findings 2008. (http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugpages/MTF.HTML). Bethesda, MD. NIDA, NIH, DHHS. May 2007. Retrieved June 2009.
5. (2009). The National Institute on Drug Abuse Can marijuana be used as medicine? http://www.nida.nih.gov/MarijBroch/parentpg19-20N.html
7. (1981)Turner, Carlton E. The Marijuana Controversy. Rockville: American Council for Drug Education. http://drugpolicy.org/marijuana/factsmyths/
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