Notes on Marijuana

Topics: Drug addiction, Cannabis, Drug abuse Pages: 5 (1909 words) Published: June 15, 2013
THC triggers brain cells to release the chemical dopamine.
Such loss of coordination can be caused by smoking marijuana. And that's just one of its many negative effects. Marijuana affects memory, judgment, and perception. Under the influence of marijuana, you could fail to remember things you just learned, watch your grade point average drop, or crash a car. Also, since marijuana can affect judgment and decision making, using it can cause you to do things you might not do when you are thinking straight—such as engaging in risky sexual behavior, which can result in exposure to sexually transmitted diseases, like HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, or getting in a car with someone who’s been drinking or is high on marijuana. It’s also difficult to know how marijuana will affect a specific person at any given time, because its effects vary based on individual factors: a person’s genetics, whether they’ve used marijuana or any other drugs before, and how much marijuana is taken. Effects can also be unpredictable when marijuana is used in combination with other drugs. THC is up to no good in the brain. THC finds brain cells, or neurons, with specific kinds of receptors called cannabinoid receptors and binds to them. Certain parts of the brain have high concentrations of cannabinoid receptors. These areas are the hippocampus, the cerebellum, the basal ganglia, and the cerebral cortex. The functions that these brain areas control are the ones most affected by marijuana. For example, THC interferes with learning and memory—that is because the hippocampus—a part of the brain with a funny name and a big job—plays a critical role in certain types of learning. Disrupting its normal functioning can lead to problems studying, learning new things, and recalling recent events. The difficulty can be a lot more serious than forgetting if you took out the trash this morning, which happens to everyone once in a while. A recent study followed people from age 13 to 38 and found that those who used marijuana a lot in their teens and continued into adulthood had a significant drop in IQ, even if they quit. The Brain

When people smoke marijuana for years, they can suffer some pretty negative consequences. For example, because marijuana affects brain function, your ability to do complex tasks could be compromised, as well as your pursuit of academic, athletic, or other life goals that require you to be 100-percent focused and alert. In fact, people who use marijuana over the long term report less life satisfaction, poorer education, and job achievement, and more interpersonal problems compared to people who do not use marijuana. Marijuana also may affect your mental health. Studies show that early marijuana use may increase your risk of developing psychosis if you have a genetic vulnerability to the disease. Psychosis is a severe mental disorder in which there is a loss of contact with reality, including false ideas about what is happening (delusions) and seeing or hearing things that aren’t there (hallucinations). Marijuana also has been associated with depression and anxiety, but more research is necessary to confirm and better understand that relationship. Addiction

Many people don’t think of marijuana as addictive—they are wrong. About 9 percent of people who use marijuana become dependent on it. The number increases to about one in six among those who start using it at a young age, and to 25 to 50 percent among daily users. Marijuana increases dopamine, which creates the good feelings or “high” associated with its use. A user may feel the urge to smoke marijuana again, and again, and again to re-create that experience. Repeated use could lead to addiction—a disease where people continue to do something, even when they are aware of the severe negative consequences at the personal, social, academic, and professional levels. People who use marijuana may also experience a withdrawal syndrome when they stop using the drug. It is similar to what...
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