Marijuana, probably the world’s oldest psychoactive plant known to humanity, is a dry, shredded green and brown mix of flowers, stems, seeds, and leaves derived from the hemp plant Cannabis Sativa. It contains a chemical called tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. It produces a feeling of “high” when taken. The “bud” of the plant contains the higher levels of THC.
Marijuana is usually smoked as a cigarette. It could also be smoked in blunts, which are cigars that have been emptied of tobacco leaf used to wrap the cigar. This makes the marijuana more potent because it is being combined. The marijuana plant can also be brewed as a tea. When marijuana is smoked, it goes fast into the blood all the way through the lungs and then to the brain. The “high” mood is felt within a few minutes and could last up to five hours. When marijuana is consumed, it is immersed gradually for the reason that it has to the pass the stomach and intestine for digestion. The altering feeling could take up an hour but would last longer, for about twelve hours.
How does THC works in the brain? It actually attaches on a specific site in the brain known as the cannabinoid receptor which influences the activities of the nerve cells. Some brain areas have numerous cannabinoid receptors; others have few or none. Many cannabinoid receptors are located in the areas of the brain that control enjoyment, recollection, contemplation, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement. Cannabinoid receptors are mostly concentrated in the hypothalamus, amygdale, spinal cord, brain stem, central gray, and nucleus of the solitary tract. These brain areas are most likely affected with THC, thus will cause a dysfunction in behaviors related to these areas. THC stimulates the reward system of the brain which causes the release of dopamine, which in turn is responsible for the “high” feeling.
With repeated use of marijuana, the body becomes tolerant to the substance. Just like any other abused drugs, marijuana could be a reason of withdrawal symptoms when usage is terminated. When the body tolerates the substance, higher doses is required, and in turn, causing more damage in the person’s life. In order to avoid withdrawal symptoms, the person would find ways for continuous use of the drug. This attitude, then, translates to marijuana addiction. Marijuana is considered as both mentally and emotionally addictive. Users believe that they need to take marijuana to live normally and to have fun.
Overtime, marijuana could change the person socially, emotionally, physically, and even psychologically. Users tend to lose motivation in doing activities that used to mean a lot to them. The abuser would then stay away from their friends who do not use marijuana and settle to those who use the substance. It is rooted in their minds that they could not do things without being stoned of smoking marijuana first. They think that smoking marijuana could work out all their problems. Moreover, as indicated by how the brain is affected with marijuana, memory and cognition is very much affected. Studies have revealed that intense users have trouble sustaining attention, shifting attention to meet the demands of the changes in the surroundings, and in registering, processing, and using information. It has been suggested that the greater harm among heavy users is likely due to an alteration of brain activity produced by marijuana. Furthermore, smoking marijuana could lead to abnormal functioning of lung tissue and other respiratory problems.
Marijuana can either be addictive or not. For people with addictive tendency, then yes, marijuana could be addictive. However, there are people who argue that they can take or leave it and have quit for a long period of time. Well, probably, in their case, the answer is thumbs down.
Like any other drugs, marijuana may have something positive to give to humanity, however, when humans tend to abuse it, it becomes the evil hand that stirs your mind into something you couldn’t imagine.