Commonly Abused Drugs Marijuana

Scientific name: Cannabis Sativa

Classification: Psychoactive drug.

Legal status in US: Varied. Illegal under federal law to cultivate, possess or sell. Possession of small amounts for personal use is legal in a few states.

Origin: Mixture of dried, shredded leaves and flowers of the plant cannabis sativa.

Estimated use: As high as 12% of Americans.

Street names: Has more than 200 street names including Pot, Weed, Grass, Dope, Ganja, Reefer, Skun, and Hash Oil.

Administering: Most often smoked, either rolled in cigarette paper(s) or with a smoking device. Sometimes added to food.

What Does Marijuana Do to the Body?

The amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content in it determines how strongly the drug will affect the body. Marijuana affects the central nervous system as a stimulant and depressant when its THC is rapidly absorbed into body tissues and organs.

Soon after consuming marijuana, a person may feel some sense of euphoria or relaxation, but coordination, balance and reaction time will be diminished, similar to drinking alcohol. The user can also develop red eyes, rapid speech and uncontrollable bursts of laughter. Heart rate can increase while blood pressure can drop at the same time. Later effects include hunger, sleepiness, memory problems, along with possible nervousness and paranoia.

Long Term Effects of Marijuana Use

When a person uses marijuana frequently over an extended period of time, he or she is likely to experience complications with the lungs and airways, such as shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, bronchitis and possible pneumonia. As with any kind of smoking, there is an increased risk of developing cancer.

Other effects that are brought about by prolonged use include difficulty in remembering things, weakened immune system, problems concentrating, lack of motivation, depression, anxiety, hallucinations and, of course, dependency or addiction.

Opinions and Studies About Marijuana's Medicinal Benefits

Studies into the medicinal benefits of marijuana (cannabis) are ongoing. Opinions are varied , divided, and can cause heated debate. While it appears that this substance may help in the treatment of particular medical and neurological conditions, this does not mean that rolling a joint and smoking it is automatically good for a person. Using cannabis for medical purposes requires strictly accredited supervision and thorough knowledge of laws.

Help for Marijuana Users

Dependence and addiction are disorders that require professional treatment. Considering cannabis is one of the most widely used drugs in the world, demand for treating dependency is increasing.

There is no drug or medicine that is proven to be an effective treatment. Substitutes are sometimes used in a bid to reduce problems with cravings.

It can be difficult sometimes to convince a user of the harmful effects of long-term use due to peer pressure and conditioning, certain sections of society brushing off its drawbacks, and myths about its potential benefits. Some regard its dangers as negligible and even harmless.

Proper treatment requires a mixture of professional supervision, social support systems, psychotherapy, behavioral counseling and good diet.

Always contact a rehabilitation organization to assist you or a loved one break dependence and addiction.

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