Since its first introduction as an illegal drug, there has been an ongoing gap between the true science of marijuana and the myths that surround it. Since it is legal in over 20 states, some people think that it is safe to use, but honestly, your body cannot tell the difference between a legal drug and an illegal drug. It only recognizes the effect a drug creates once you have used it. Marijuana is a widely used drug with many effects used for relaxation; however, recently its benefits for PTSD veterans and cancer treatments have been recognized. With marijuana being an illegal drug there are many different characteristics and effects that can take place when used that can affect the body and the brain. Marijuana is a combination of shredded leaves, stems, and flower buds of the Cannabis sativa plant, usually green, brown, or gray-colored (Cox).
The intoxicating substance in marijuana is called tetrahydrocannabinol, as known as THC. The Tetrahydrocannabinol found in marijuana is what causes the feeling of euphoria, or “high” feeling, while depending on quantity, quality, and amount of marijuana consumption. In order to achieve the “high” feeling, the brain cells must be stimulated by the THC in order to release the chemical found in your body known as dopamine. Dependent upon the method of consumption, the feeling of euphoria is near instant (Cox). Along with this feeling, approaches mood changes, with relaxation being one of the most frequently reported. While some marijuana users experience more intensified sensory perception along with colors appearing more vivid and noises seeming louder, not all users undergo the same effects. For some users, they can become acquainted with an altered time perception and an increased desire for food, well known as the “munchies.
“Notwithstanding all of these possible effects, the influence of these effects strongly varies by person, drug consumption frequency, the drug intensity, and how often a person gets high (Cox). In addition, common frequent side effects of Tetrahydrocannabinol involve anxiety, tachycardia, pain-relief, hallucinations, paranoia, and sedation. After experiencing one or many of these potential effects, a person may soon feel depressed or extremely fatigued which can bring on heightened agitation, irritability, and insomnia (Cox). Although there is some difference between the teenage brain and the adult brain, according to a 2014 Northwestern Medicine study of teenage marijuana users, memory-related structures in the brain appeared to shrink, which indicates possible signs of a decrease in neutrons (Cox). Whilst an individual who started using marijuana after 21 may not experience these same brain abnormalities, an individual who started using marijuana at an earlier age is more most likely to undergo this defect. As well as short-term damage on the brain is of great significance, continual users reported with more weakened brain abilities such as difficulty thinking clearly, debilitated thought organization and memory and decreased reaction time(Cox). Furthermore, approaches the physical effects that marijuana leaves on a human being.
As ingested – or inhaled – through the respiratory system, a marijuana user might experience many of the same effects as a tobacco user being phlegm production, more frequent chest illnesses, such as bronchitis, and a greater risk of lung infections. (National Institute on Drug Abuse). Whereas many myths were thought to have connected increased marijuana consumption with an increased risk of lung cancer, heavy marijuana users did not appear to be at a greater risk for lung cancer, according to a 2013 study by pulmonary and critical care medical professor, Dr. Donald Tashkin.(UCLA). Commonly abused, recreational marijuana has lead to more complex consequences and leads to more dangerous situations that could affect lots of things such as a person’s health and a government’s economy.
Along with recreational use, comes the many ways it can be used. Marijuana can be used all of the many ways including smoked, eaten, vaporized, brewed, and ingested, with the most common use being smoked (NIDA). Frequently nicknamed “pot,” “weed,” ” grass,” and etc, before being smoked is commonly spread onto rolling papers. While other methods can include edibles that can be added to a number of foods, such as the “pot brownie,” vaporization, which is thought to be the better option because of less extracts and oils released and liquid form, which can be brewed as tea and added to soda, milk, and alcohol (Cox). Again, with the many ways marijuana can be used recreationally, it is not necessarily legal in every state to utilize it recreationally. While recently it has been reported that Los Angeles, California will become one of the largest cities to allow recreational “pot, ” there are many other states taking into consideration of allowing legal recreational marijuana. Starting January 1st, 2018, San Jose will allow all of its 16 medical marijuana dispensaries to sell recreational pot with a legal state issued license (Blood). Also including 29 other states, laws have currently been placed broadly allowing legal use of recreational marijuana in some forms, while only eight states and the District of Columbia have passed more expansive laws that legalize recreational marijuana use in all forms (Dufton).
With allowance of legal recreational marijuana use in some states, there were reports of millions of tax dollars being raised from its sales and an increased number of business owners who profited from this new industry (Dufton). Although the recreational pot industry may be booming now, history shows a debate that is far from being settled. Between the years 1973 and 1978, more than one dozen states decriminalized possession of marijuana, up to an ounce, but by the end of 1978, more than a third of the country was back living in states where the possession of cannabis period warranted more than a fine (Dufton). Little did anyone know, a multi-million dollar