Marijuana & Its Positive and Negative Affects
Marijuana, also called Cannabis Savita, is a plant that contains a chemical called Delta-9-tetrahydracannibal, which is known as THC. Marijuana is a drug because it alters the brain’s functions and controls. It is known as a depressant because the psychoactive effects give the user a relaxed feeling. Besides the fact that marijuana is one of the top three drugs that Americans use, other cultures around the world use marijuana daily. This drug is mostly debated for its legalization in the United States. Many doctors agree that marijuana helps cancer patients through chemotherapy treatments. Many other citizens believe marijuana is not a drug. The effects of smoking marijuana are not as damaging as smoking tobacco but there are still many bad effects from smoking it. Because this drug has both pros and cons, it is still highly debated to this day.
Marijuana is known to alter the way your body functions because the drug that the plant contains enters your blood stream within minutes after you inhale the marijuana smoke. This drug is called THC. The doses of THC vary between the variations of the plant. When people grow their own marijuana, it is said to contain less THC than the ones that are grown in a plantation. There are studies in labs that show how marijuana affects the brain. THC actually contains something similar to a neurotransmitter that fits into a receptor site of the brain. Because the brain contains over hundreds of neurotransmitters and many were not discovered yet, people called this molecule a cannabinoid. In 1988, people finally discovered that the cannabinoid was similar to the actual brain neurotransmitter, the anandamide. This neurotransmitter in the brain influences pain, depression, appetite, memory, and fertility. These receptor sites are located in the basal ganglia, cerebellum, and limbic system of the brain. By smoking marijuana, it decreases any pains in your body, subsides depression, increases appetite, lowers the ability for memorization, and creates infertility. This drug is considered to be harmless because it does not affect the brain stem and it mimics a neurotransmitter of the brain.
Marijuana can contain positive effects to the body. Earlier stated, many doctors allow their cancer patients to smoke marijuana because many undergo chemotherapy treatment. There are many side effects to chemotherapy, such as an urgency to throw up, pain everywhere on the body, loss of appetite, and many more effects. By giving marijuana for the patient to smoke, the THC molecules, will help counter act the side effects of chemotherapy. The patient will feel less pain throughout the body and will be able to eat because they will have an increase of hunger. Doctors also agree that smoking marijuana is a better alternative than taking pill medication for depression because it is more natural. Man-made drugs are a lot stronger and more harmful for the brain and body. Marijuana is a more natural, although not permanent, solution to depression.
Marijuana actually contains more negative effects to the body. Because the most preferred way to intake THC is to smoke marijuana, many only smoke it. Smoking anything into the body has bad effects. The smoke, because it is toxic and contains carbon dioxide, kills the cilia that filter harmful pathogens located around the throat and lungs. It is similar to smoking tobacco because it creates precancerous cells in your respiratory system. There is a chance to acquire cancer because of smoking marijuana. Other problems from smoking are the following: “laryngitis, pharyngitis, bronchitis, asthma-like conditions, cough, hoarseness, and dry throat.” (Narconon Georgia) Smoking lowers oxygen flow to everywhere in your body. This means that your body has to work harder to bring oxygen to your muscles. This can lead to a heart attack because your body might overwork to provide oxygen to all the muscles and parts of your body. Your body automatically develops a tolerance for substances that you do a lot; This will lead to an increase of smoking to get the same effects as once you first started. Inside the brain, the hippocampus is altered. The hippocampus is responsible for memory. Marijuana affects short term memory and it does not allow people to remember short term memories. Although THC does mimic a neurotransmitter that the brain automatically creates and has, it is physically inhaled into your body. Therefore, this will create an imbalance in the brain because the brain only makes the neurotransmitter, anandamide, when necessary.
Based on the many studies done, marijuana contains positive and negative effects on the human brain and the body. Hopefully, by reading this essay, people can become more educated on this natural plant and its’ effects.
-by Esther Au