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December 20, 2011

US Dept of Justice – Get Smart about Drugs

by nampadmin

What is its effect on the mind?

When marijuana is smoked, the THC passes from the lungs and into the bloodstream, which carries the chemical to the organs throughout the body, including the brain. In the brain, the THC connects to specific sites called cannabinoid receptors on nerve cells and influences the activity of those cells.

Many of these receptors are found in the parts of the brain that influence: Pleasure, memory, thought, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement

The short-term effects of marijuana include: Problems with memory and learning, distorted perception, difficulty in thinking and problem-solving, and loss of coordination

The effect of marijuana on perception and coordination are responsible for serious impairments in learning, associative processes, and psychomotor behavior (driving abilities).

Long term, regular use can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal following discontinuation, as well as psychic addiction or dependence.

Clinical studies show that the physiological, psychological, and behavioral effects of marijuana vary among individuals and present a list of common responses to cannabinoids, as described in the scientific literature:

  • Dizziness, nausea, tachycardia, facial flushing, dry mouth and tremor initially
  • Merriment, happiness, and even exhilaration at high doses
  • Disinhibition, relaxation, increased sociability, and talkativeness
  • Enhanced sensory perception, giving rise
  • Heightened imagination leading to a subjective sense of increased creativity
  • Time distortions
  • Illusions, delusions, and hallucinations are rare except at high doses
  • Impaired judgment, reduced coordination, and ataxia, which can impede driving ability or lead to an increase in risk-taking behavior
  • Emotional lability, incongruity of affect, dysphoria, disorganized thinking, inability to converse logically, agitation, paranoia, confusion, restlessness, anxiety, drowsiness, and panic attacks may occur, especially in inexperienced users or in those who have taken a large dose
  • Increased appetite and
  • Short-term memory impairment are common

Researchers have also found an association between marijuana use and an increased risk of depression, an increased risk and earlier onset of schizophrenia, and other psychotic disorders, especially for teens that have a genetic predisposition.

What is its effect on the body?

Short-term physical effects from marijuana use may include: Sedation, blood shot eyes, increased heart rate, coughing from lung irritation, increased appetite, and decreased blood pressure

Like tobacco smokers, marijuana smokers experience serious health problems such as bronchitis, emphysema, and bronchial asthma. Extended use may cause suppression of the immune system. Because marijuana contains toxins and carcinogens, marijuana smokers increase their risk of cancer of the head, neck, lungs, and respiratory tract.
Withdrawal from chronic use of high doses of marijuana causes physical signs including headache, shakiness, sweating, and stomach pains and nausea.

Withdrawal symptoms also include behavioral signs such as: Restlessness, irritability.

Source: DEA Get Smart About Drugs June2011

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