Marijuana has components that cause changes in the central nervous system, which produces, among other effects, behavioral changes.Marijuana is an extremely well-known drug and also used worldwide. It is estimated that 10% of those who use this drug become daily users of it. This plant, which is used for recreational and also medicinal purposes, is undoubtedly a matter of controversy when it comes to its use. After all, is it a product that does not cause damage to health?
→ Marijuana characteristics
Marijuana is a plant of the Moraceae family, originally from Central Asia, and its characteristic feature is its ability to resist different altitudes, climates and different soils, being found mainly in tropical and temperate regions. Its scientific name is Cannabis sativa – Cannabis means hemp and sativa is related to the planted or sown crop.
Marijuana has more than 400 different components , and about 60 of them are called cannabinoids (a group of compounds with 21 carbon atoms present in marijuana). Its main psychoactive component is Δ 9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ 9 -THC), which causes a complex influence on the brain. It is worth mentioning that the psychoactive properties of marijuana vary according to the climate where the plant was grown.
→ Effects of marijuana use
The effects of marijuana on the body are the most varied and can depend on each user. Among the main changes observed, we can mention euphoria, a feeling of relaxation, heightened senses, changes in the perception of time, interference in reaction time, changes in sensory abilities , loss of short-term memory, difficulty in motor control, dry mouth, tachycardia and postural hypotension (pressure drop that occurs when a person, previously sitting or lying down, changes position, standing up). In addition to all these effects mentioned, we can not forget the most serious changes, such as anxiety, panic attacks and increase in existing psychotic symptoms . Very high doses of the drug can also triggerhallucinations.
The chronic use of marijuana, according to some studies, is related to learning problems , unproductivity, apathy, bronchitis, chronic coughs, changes in immunity and infertility. It is worth noting that marijuana becomes more harmful when its use starts very early, for a long time or if there is exposure in the womb. In the short term, the use of this drug has no evident harmful effects like those identified in other drugs such as cocaine .
The work by Rigoni et al., Entitled Marijuana use in adolescence and the consequences on cognitive functions, demonstrated that there was a statistically significant difference when comparing the cognitive functions of 30 marijuana users and 30 non-users. According to this work, adolescent users showed a lower performance with regard to cognitive functions than those who were not users, showing that marijuana can interfere with the neuropsychological functioning of those who use it.
With regard to schizophrenia , several studies have shown that marijuana is able to worsen conditions of this disease, in addition to triggering it in individuals who are predisposed. According to Soares-Weiser et al. , in his work Marijuana use in adolescence and risk of schizophrenia , the risk of developing schizophrenic disorders seems to be related to the frequency of marijuana use.
→ Marijuana and addiction
Despite what many think, marijuana can, indeed, cause addiction, and there are several studies demonstrating this pattern. Dependency increases according to the amount consumed, however, not all users become dependent. In reality, most do not present this picture. Ribeiro et al. , in the Marijuana Abuse and Dependence research , cites as symptoms of withdrawal from this drug: fissure, irritability, nervousness, restlessness, depression , insomnia, reduced appetite and headache (headache) .
→ Medical use of marijuana
Marijuana has long been used for medicinal practices, and the first report of this type of use is more than 2000 years old. Its medicinal use is permitted in some locations in the United States and countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands .
The use of marijuana and its components is strongly advocated by some professionals and patients. This is because this plant has substances that have important therapeutic effects, such as the reduction of symptoms triggered by chemotherapy, such as pain, nausea and vomiting. Marijuana substances are also used successfully to decrease the loss of appetite in AIDS patients and to treat glaucoma and cardiovascular disease.
It is important to highlight that, although the substances present in marijuana have therapeutic application, they also have psychotropic effects. Therefore, some side effects may accompany the medicinal effects. This ends up limiting the use of these products derived from marijuana as medicines.