How Marijuana Affects You
For years, marijuana was lumped in with numerous other dangerous drugs like heroin and cocaine, but now marijuana is legal in most states, medically. Almost 40 states are able to sell marijuana with a medical card, and there are also several states that allow the sale of recreational marijuana.
Some states allow the recreational use of marijuana, which means there’s no need for a medical marijuana card, and other states focus strictly on medical use.
How Does Marijuana Work?
Marijuana affects the body and the brain, and there are different strains of marijuana that have different effects.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a mass of cannabinoid receptors attached to the neurons in your brain and central nervous system (CNS). These cannabinoid receptors are located in the hippocampus and cerebellum. Your body creates a natural cannabinoid called “anandamide” that binds the cannabinoid receptors and fires the neutrons, regulating memory, learning, coordination, pain and emotions.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is also a cannabinoid. THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana and is what makes people feel “high.” When you ingest marijuana, your brain is flooded with cannabinoids that bind to the cannabinoid receptors and massively amplify the effects of your natural anandamide.
People that have a deficient endocannabinoid system can suffer from a number of symptoms such as:
- Increased sensitivity to pain
- Mood disorders
The THC in weed can help with this deficiency and relieve these symptoms. The potential health benefits of cannabis seem to be limitless, and it’s unfortunate that it was illegal for so long. Patients that could have been helped with marijuana had to settle for pharmaceuticals that often have more side effects than the actual illness.
How Does Marijuana Affect the Body?
This is really only relevant for marijuana smokers. Most people assume that smoking marijuana is as bad for you, or worse, than tobacco because there aren’t any filters on joints, pipes, or bongs. Studies show that smoking marijuana does not carry the same risk of lung cancer as smoking cigarettes or cigars, and some people claim that smoking in moderation may even have a positive effect on your lungs.
However, there are some risks of smoking marijuana, and a lot of people are starting to ingest marijuana through edibles. There are a host of respiratory conditions smokers could suffer from because no matter how you cut it, you are introducing smoke into your lungs.
Here are some of the negative effects of smoking marijuana:
- Extra mucus production
- Sore throat
There are numerous benefits to the central nervous system, and chronic pain is one of the most important. With the recent, much-needed crackdown on opioids in the United States, marijuana is now widely used for pain relief. Marijauna also reduces muscle spasms from neurological diseases, and it acts as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that also helps with sleep.
Marijuana is a natural way to lower blood pressure for those that suffer from blood pressure issues, but it could be less beneficial for someone that suffers from low blood pressure to begin with. As far as circulation goes, marijuana can lower blood pressure, raise heart rates, and lower body temperature.
It’s no secret that marijuana can give you the munchies, which means the drug obviously affects digestion. Marijuana increases appetite and can reduce the feelings of nausea. It can also reduce vomiting, especially with patients undergoing chemotherapy.
How Does Marijuana Affect the Brain?
Marijuana has many positive effects on the brain and can enhance your sense of smell, taste, colors, and sex drive, just to name a few. However, marijuana might help most with deep, quality sleep which promotes healing and general, overall health.
People with mood disorders often use marijuana to help with depression and anxiety, and PTSD sufferers often use the drug to calm themselves. In years past, it was said that marijuana use kills brain cells, but some people claim that it promotes brain cell growth. However, there are some negatives, as well.
Marijuana can cause some negative effects, including anxiety, panic and paranoia, hallucinations (rare), decreased motor skills and coordination, decreased levels of concentration and interest, and difficulty focusing and concentrating on tasks. Obviously, different strains of weed have different effects so if you suffer from anxiety when smoking strong weed, try a high CBD strain.
Is Marijuana Addictive?
Anyone can get addicted to anything that brings them pleasure (or pain). The percentage of people who claim to be addicted to marijuana is very low, making it much safer than most drugs. When it comes to addiction, it isn’t about how much you ingest during a period of time, but more about how hard it is to quit. Addiction is measured by how hard you find it to stop rather than how much you do it.
The symptoms of marijuana addiction are pretty much the same as for any other drug, and Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD) is an actual disorder. However, it is very rare.
The Bottom Line
There are both positive and negative effects marijuana has on the body, but the positives far outweigh the negatives. The only way to know how marijuana affects you is to try it, and make sure you do your homework to find the right strain and potency for you and your body.
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