How does the body react to the harmful effects of marijuana?

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Answered by: April, An Expert in the About Substance Dependence Category
Marijuana is the most popular illegal substance in the United States. Marijuana use is very common among teenagers and young adults for recreational use. Many marijuana smokers simply start their habit by using legal drugs such as alcohol or cigarettes. When at parties or other events, teenagers may try marijuana because it is readily available. Once they have tried marijuana, they are more likely to try other harmful and addictive drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamines, and heroin. For this reason, many call marijuana the "gateway" drug.

There are many harmful effects of marijuana. Most commonly, people have trouble remembering things and concentrating. Also, marijuana causes sleepiness, anxiety, and an altered time perception. This is especially dangerous if one is driving a vehicle. When a person is high on marijuana, they will have very bloodshot, red eyes. Additionally, one may feel paranoid, as if someone is out to get them at all times. Long term marijuana use can cause depression loss of interest in normal daily activities. Furthermore, after using the drug for long periods, people may come dependent and feel that they have to have it on a daily basis. It causes a psychological addiction in many people.

Marijuana is destructive to the body in many ways. Commonly people who smoke marijuana may have tremors and terrible headaches. Also, nausea is one of the common harmful effects of marijuana use. People who use this drug may become very uncoordinated and slow. Furthermore, it is common that marijuana users gain weight because hunger is one of the many side effects of using this drug. Because of the relaxation effect that marijuana has on the body many people have a routine; smoke, eat, and then sleep. It is common for users to put on several pounds after constant use of this drug due to lack of exercise and increased food intake.

More seriously the brain, heart, and lungs are affected by marijuana use. When you smoke or ingest marijuana, the blood flow to the brain is slowed down dramatically. Your behavior changes as well as your mood due to an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. Using marijuana also affects your heart. It can speed up your heart rate to dangerous levels. For most people the effects are temporary, however, if you have high blood pressure or other current heart problems, this could seriously damage your heart.

Damage to the lungs is another problem associated with marijuana use. Using this drug can cause severe irritation to the respiratory system and the lining of the lungs. When one inhales marijuana, they tend to hold it in as long as possible, because of this, lungs become damaged. Commonly breathing problems such as asthma and emphysema are associated with long term marijuana use. Marijuana contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which is an agent proven to cause cancer. Many researchers feel that marijuana is responsible for the development of lung cancer.

Marijuana is also known to affect a pregnant mother and her newborn baby. Mothers who used marijuana during pregnancy have an elevated risk that their child will be born with low birth weight. If a baby is born weighing less, the chance for developing a health problem increases. The pregnant women who use this drug may not get the proper nutrition in order to have a healthy baby. It is also noted that the immune system of marijuana users is lowered as compared to non- smokers; this could effect the newborn baby as well. Mothers who breast feed and smoke marijuana could also be harming their newborn. THC the chemical found is marijuana is also found in breast milk. This could cause a decrease in the proper development of their child as well as delay their motor skills.

Although marijuana is considered harmful for many people, researchers feel that it could also have positive medical benefits. Those suffering with long term illness such as cancer or HIV/ AIDS are prescribed this medication in some states where it is legal. Marijuana is known to assist the patients with pain as well as the terrible side effects of chemotherapy for cancer. Also, patients with AIDS will experience symptoms such as nausea and vomiting from their medications; marijuana can lessen those effects as well. Furthermore, marijuana has been known to reduce pressure in the eyes which is effective in treating those who are suffering from glaucoma.

Marijuana may help people with certain illnesses; however the side effects of using this drug outweigh the benefits. When using this drug other problems may arise that will only complicate your current health condition. It is a good idea to avoid this drug altogether because marijuana has been scientifically proven to harmfully affect the body.

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