Cannabis is a term that refers to marijuana and other drugs made from the same plant. Strong forms of cannabis include sinse-milla (sin-seh-me-yah), hashish ("hash" for short), and hash oil.
All forms of cannabis are mind-altering (psychoactive) drugs; they all contain THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the main active chemical in marijuana. They also contain more than 400 other chemicals.
Marijuana's (cannabis) effect on the user depends on the strength or potency of the THC it contains. THC potency has increased since the 1970s but has been about the same since the mid-1980s. The strength of the drug is measured by the average amount of THC in test samples confiscated by law enforcement agencies.
Most ordinary marijuana (cannabis) has an average of 3 percent THC.
Sinsemilla (made from just the buds and flowering tops of female plants) has an average of 7.5 percent THC, with a range as high as 24 percent.
Hashish (the sticky resin from the female plant flowers) has an average of 3.6 percent, with a range as high as 28 percent.
Hash oil, a tar-like liquid distilled from hashish, has an average of 16 percent, with a range as high as 43 percent.
What happens after a person smokes marijuana?
Within a few minutes of inhaling marijuana smoke, the user will likely feel, along with intoxication, a dry mouth, rapid heartbeat, some loss of coordination and poor sense of balance, and slower reaction time. Blood vessels in the eye expand, so the user's eyes look red.
For some people, marijuana raises blood pressure slightly and can double the normal heart rate. This effect can be greater when other drugs are mixed with marijuana; but users do not always know when that happens.
As the immediate effects fade, usually after 2 to 3 hours, the user may become sleepy.
How long does marijuana (cannabis) stay in the user's body?
Fatty tissues in various organs readily absorb THC in marijuana. Generally, traces (metabolites) of THC can be detected by standard urine testing methods several days after a smoking session. However, in heavy, chronic users, traces can sometimes be detected for weeks after they have stopped using marijuana.
Can a user have a bad reaction?
Yes. Some users, especially someone new to the drug or in a strange setting, may suffer acute anxiety and have paranoid thoughts. This is more likely to happen with high doses of THC. These scary feelings will fade as the drug's effects wear off.
In rare cases, a user who has taken a very high dose of the drug can have severe psychotic symptoms and need emergency medical treatment.
Other kinds of bad reactions can occur when marijuana is mixed with other drugs, such as PCP or cocaine.
How is marijuana harmful?
Marijuana can be harmful in a number of ways, through both immediate effects and damage to health over time.
Marijuana hinders the user's short-term memory (memory for recent events), and he or she may have trouble handling complex tasks. With the use of more potent varieties of marijuana, even simple tasks can be difficult.
Because of the drug's effects on perceptions and reaction time, users could be involved in auto crashes. Drug users also may become involved in risky sexual behavior. There is a strong link between drug use and unsafe sex and the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Under the influence of marijuana (Tetrahydrocannabinol,THC), students may find it hard to study and learn. (14) Young athletes could find their performance is off; timing, movements, and coordination are all affected by THC. It is very important to get the use of this drug stopped. One of the ways to do that is to do regular urine drug testing of the person who is using this drug. Urine drug testing products are available for purchase at https://www.homedrugtestingkit.com/ now.
Some of the more long-range effects of marijuana use are described later in this document.
How does marijuana (cannabis) affect driving?
Marijuana affects many skills required for safe driving: alertness, the ability to concentrate, coordination, and reaction time. These effects can last up to 24 hours after smoking marijuana. Marijuana use can make it difficult to judge distances and react to signals and sounds on the road.
There are data showing that marijuana can play a role in crashes. When users combine marijuana with alcohol, as they often do, the hazards of driving can be more severe than with either drug alone.
Can marijuana (Tetrahydrocannabinol,THC) be used as medicine?
There has been much debate in the media about the possible medical use of marijuana. Under U.S. law since 1970, marijuana has been a Schedule I controlled substance. This means that the drug, at least in its smoked form, has no commonly accepted medical use.
In considering possible medical uses of marijuana, it is important to distinguish between whole marijuana and pure THC or other specific chemicals derived from cannabis. Whole marijuana contains hundreds of chemicals, some of which are clearly harmful to health.
THC, manufactured into a pill that is taken by mouth, not smoked, can be used for treating the nausea and vomiting that go along with certain cancer treatments and is available by prescription. Another chemical related to THC (nabilone) has also been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating cancer patients who suffer nausea. The oral THC is also used to help AIDS patients eat more to keep up their weight.
Scientists are studying whether marijuana, THC, and related chemicals in marijuana (called cannabis/cannabinoids) may have other medical uses. According to scientists, more research needs to be done on marijuana's side effects and potential benefits before it can be recommended for medical use.
THC changes the way in which sensory information gets into and is processed by the hippocampus, a brain component that is crucial for learning, memory, and the integration of senses with emotions. Learned behaviors also deteriorate.
Long-term use of marijuana produces changes in the brain similar to those seen after long-term use of other major drugs.
Someone who smokes marijuana regularly may have many of the same respiratory problems as tobacco smokers.
Regardless of the THC content, the amount of tar inhaled by marijuana smokers and the level of carbon monoxide absorbed are three to five times greater than among tobacco smokers. Personal and private marijuana/cannabis (Tetrahydrocannabinol,THC) drug testing is an important part of helping an addict stop their substance abuse. Please visit
https://www.homedrugtestingkit.com/ to purchase your urine drug tests today.
If someone is high on marijuana, he or she might:
Seem dizzy and have trouble walking
Seem silly and giggly for no reason
Have very red, bloodshot eyes
Have a hard time remembering things that just happened
When the early effects fade, over a few hours, the user can become very sleepy
The effects of marijuana on each person depend on the type of cannabis and how much THC it contains; way the drug is taken (by smoking or eating); experience and expectations of the user; setting where the drug is used; and whether drinking or other drug use is also going on. Some people feel nothing at all when they first try marijuana. Others may feel high (intoxicated and/or euphoric).
It's common for marijuana users to become engrossed with ordinary sights, sounds, or tastes, and trivial events may seem extremely interesting or funny. Time seems to pass very slowly, so minutes feel like hours. Sometimes the drug causes users to feel thirsty and very hungry-an effect called "the munchies."
Regarding children, parents should be aware of changes in their child's behavior, although this may be difficult with teenagers. Parents should look for withdrawal, depression, fatigue, carelessness with grooming, hostility, and deteriorating relationships with family members and friends. In addition, changes in academic performance, increased absenteeism or truancy, lost interest in sports or other favorite activities, and changes in eating or sleeping habits could be related to drug use. However, these signs may also indicate problems other than use of drugs.
The main active chemical in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). In 1988, it was discovered that the membranes of certain nerve cells contain protein receptors that bind THC. Once securely in place, THC kicks off a series of cellular reactions that lead to the high that users experience when they smoke marijuana.
Marijuana (cannabis) is addicting because it causes compulsive, uncontrollable drug craving, seeking, and use, even in the face of negative health and social consequences. Over 120,000 people enter treatment per year for their primary marijuana addiction. In addition, animal studies suggest marijuana causes physical dependence, and some people report withdrawal symptoms. Children and young teens start using marijuana for many reasons. Curiosity and the desire to fit into a social group are common reasons. Certainly, youngsters who have already begun to smoke cigarettes and/or use alcohol are at high risk for marijuana use. Personal and private marijuana/cannabis (Tetrahydrocannabinol,THC) drug testing is an important part of helping an addict stop their substance abuse. Please visit
https://www.homedrugtestingkit.com/ to purchase your urine drug testing kits today.
Also, our research suggests that the use of alcohol and drugs by other family members plays a strong role in whether children start using drugs. Parents, grandparents, and older brothers and sisters in the home are models for children to follow.
Some young people who take drugs do not get along with their parents. Some have a network of friends who use drugs and urge them to do the same (peer pressure). All aspects of a child's environment - home, school, and neighborhood - help to determine whether the child will try drugs.
Children who become more heavily involved with marijuana (cannabis) can become dependent, and that is their prime reason for using the drug. Others mention psychological coping as a reason for their use - to deal with anxiety, anger, depression, boredom, and so forth. But marijuana use is not an effective method for coping with life's problems, and staying high can be a way of simply not dealing with the problems and challenges of growing up.
Researchers have found that children and teens (both male and female) who are physically and sexually abused are at greater risk than other young people of using marijuana and other drugs and of beginning drug use at an early age.
Does using marijuana lead to other drugs?
Long-term studies of high school students and their patterns of drug use show that very few young people use other drugs without first trying marijuana. The risk of using cocaine has been estimated to be more than 104 times greater for those who have tried marijuana than for those who have never tried it. Although there are no definitive studies on the factors associated with the movement from marijuana/cannabis use to use of other drugs, growing evidence shows that a combination of biological, social, and psychological factors are involved. Parents, please help your children better their health. Monitor them regularly to let them know that you love and care about their health. Parents should invest in their children with the purchase of easy-to-use personal and private urine drug testing kits
on a regular basis. Your children's health depend on your involvement in their prevention and/or recovery from drug use/abuse. You can purchase a simple drug testing kit today to better their future. As an individual and/or parent, go to https://www.homedrugtestingkit.com/ now to invest in your's and/or your child's health.
Marijuana affects the brain in some of the same ways that other drugs do. Researchers are examining the possibility that long-term marijuana use may create changes in the brain that make a person more at risk of becoming addicted to other drugs, such as alcohol or cocaine. While not all young people who use marijuana go on to use other drugs, further research is needed to determine who will be at greatest risk.
Through treatment that is tailored to individual needs, patients can learn to control their condition and live normal, productive lives. People in treatment for drug addiction learn behavioral changes and often take medications as part of their treatment regimen.
The ultimate goal of all drug abuse treatment is to enable the patient to achieve lasting abstinence, but the immediate goals are to reduce drug use, improve the patient's ability to function, and minimize the medical and social complications.
Up until a few years ago, it was hard to find treatment programs specifically for marijuana users. Treatments for marijuana dependence were much the same as therapies for other drug abuse problems. These include detoxification, behavioral therapies, and regular attendance at meetings of support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous.
Recently, researchers have been testing different ways to attract marijuana users to treatment and help them abstain from drug use. There are currently no medications for treating marijuana dependence. Treatment programs focus on counseling and group support systems. From these studies, drug treatment professionals are learning what characteristics of users are predictors of success in treatment and which approaches to treatment can be most helpful.
Further progress in treatment to help marijuana users includes a number of programs set up to help adolescents in particular. Some of these programs are in university research centers, where most of the young clients report marijuana as their drug of choice. Others are in independent adolescent treatment facilities. Family physicians are also a good source for information and help in dealing with adolescents' marijuana problems. Parents, please help your children better their health. Monitor them regularly to let them know that you love and care about their health. Parents should invest in their children with the purchase of easy-to-use personal and private urine drug testing kits on a regular basis. Your children's health depend on your involvement in their prevention and/or recovery from drug use/abuse. You can purchase a simple drug testing kit today to better their future. As an individual and/or parent, go to https://www.homedrugtestingkit.com/ now to invest in your's and/or your child's health.
Harder. S. and Reitbrock. S. Concentration-effect relationship of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and prediction of psychotropic effects after smoking marijuana. International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 35(4): 155-159, 1997.
Harrison, PA.; Fulkerson, J. A.; and Beebe. T. J. Multiple substance use among adolescent physical and sexual abuse victims. Child Abuse and Neglect. 6:529-39, 1997.
Kandel, D. B. Stages in adolescent involvement with drugs. Science, 190:912-914, 1975.
Rodriguez de Fonseca, F.; Carrera, M.R.A.; Navarro, M.; Koob, G.F.; and Weiss, F. Activation of Corticotropin-Releasing Factor in the Limbic System During Cannabinoid Withdrawal. Science, Vol. 276, June 27, 1997.
By: Psychology Today Staff
Originally published by Psychology Today:2002/10/10