Marijuana / Cannabis

Cannabis is often used for its mental and physical effects, such as a "high" or "stoned" feeling, a general change in perception, euphoria (heightened mood), and an increase in appetite.

Short term side effects may include a decrease in short-term memory, dry mouth, impaired motor skills, red eyes, and feelings of paranoia or anxiety.

Long term side effects may include addiction, decreased mental ability in those who started as teenagers, and behavioral problems in children whose mothers used cannabis during pregnancy.

GET THE FACTS

Marijuana affects your brain. THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) affects damages the nerve cells in the part of the brain where memories are formed, making it hard to remember things. Researchers have found that THC changes the way in which sensory information gets into and is acted on by the hippocampus. This is a component of the brain’s limbic system that is crucial for learning, memory, and the integration of sensory experiences with emotions and motivations. Investigations have shown that neurons in the information processing system of the hippocampus and the activity of the nerve fibres are suppressed by THC. In addition, researchers have discovered that learned behaviours, which depend on the hippocampus, also deteriorate. Recent research findings also indicate that long−term use of marijuana produces changes in the brain similar to those seen after long−term use of other major drugs of abuse.

Marijuana affects your self−control. Marijuana can seriously affect your sense of time and your ability to do things that require coordination−like driving. Marijuana use seriously impairs your ability to react quickly.

Marijuana affects your lungs. There are more than 400 known chemicals in marijuana. A single joint contains four times as much cancer−causing tar as a filtered cigarette. Someone who smokes marijuana regularly may have many of the same respiratory problems that tobacco smokers have. These individuals may have daily cough and phlegm, symptoms of chronic bronchitis, and more frequent chest colds. Continuing to smoke marijuana can lead to abnormal functioning of lung tissue injured or destroyed by marijuana smoke. coughing, asthma, upper respiratory problems.

Marijuana affects other aspects of your health. Marijuana can limit your body's ability to fight off infection. It can increase your heart rate and lead to frequent chest colds. Some research even shows that long−term marijuana use can increase the risk of developing certain mental illnesses. Nausea, especially in combination with alcohol, some pharmaceuticals, or other psychoactive drugs, racing heart, agitation, feeling tense mild to severe anxiety , panic attacks in sensitive users or with very high doses, headaches, dizziness, confusion, light−headedness or fainting (in cases of lowered blood pressure) paranoid & anxious thoughts more frequent. Marijuana can hasten or intensify latent or existing mental disorders.

Marijuana is not always what it seems. Before it is sold, marijuana can be laced with other dangerous drugs without your knowledge. Joints of marijuana sometimes have substances such as “P” methamphetamine, PCP, or Ketamine (a horse tranquilizer) added to them.

Marijuana can be addictive. A drug is addicting if it causes compulsive, often uncontrollable drug craving, seeking, and use, even in the face of negative health and social consequences. Marijuana meets this criterion. As with alcohol and many other drugs, not everyone who uses marijuana becomes addicted, but some users do develop signs of dependence on the drug. In addition, animal studies suggest marijuana causes physical dependence, and some people report withdrawal symptoms. They may experience such withdrawal symptoms as loss of appetite, sleep problems, weight loss, and shaky hands.

 

BEFORE YOU RISK IT

Know the law. It is illegal to buy or sell marijuana. New Zealand, holding even small amounts of marijuana can lead to fines or arrest.

Get the facts. There is NO proof that smoking marijuana is healthy and tons of evidence that it is not healthy. Smoking any substance e.g. tobacco, marijuana, or “P” methamphetamine − increases your risk of developing pneumonia and other illnesses.

Stay informed. It has not yet been proven that using marijuana leads to using other drugs. But, the fact is very few people use other drugs without first using marijuana. Teens who smoke marijuana are more likely to try other drugs, in part because they have more contact with people who use and sell them.

Know the risks. Using marijuana or other drugs increases your risk of injury from car crashes, falls, burns, drowning, and other accidents.

Keep your edge. Marijuana affects your judgment, drains your motivation, and can make you feel anxious.

 

KNOW THE SIGNS

How can you tell if a friend is using marijuana? Sometimes it's tough to tell. But there are signs you can look for. If your friend has one or more of the following warning signs, he or she may be using marijuana:

  • Clumsiness, loss of corordination at high doses.
  • Red, bloodshot & glazy eyes.
  • Having a hard time remembering things that just happened.
  • Loss of interest in school, family or activities he or she used to enjoy.
  • Acting silly for no apparent reason.

Q & A

Question : Isn't smoking marijuana less dangerous than smoking cigarettes?
Answer : No. It's even worse. One joint affects the lungs as much as four cigarettes

Question : Can People become addicted to marijuana?
Answer : Yes. Research confirms you can become hooked on marijuana. There are more people in treatment for marijuana use than for all other drugs and alcohol combined.

Question : Are there withdrawal symptoms from coming off marijuana
Answer : Yes. Withdrawal symptoms include not being able to sleep, anxiety, restlessness and apathy.

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