The debate between those who claim Marijuana is harmless – should be legal, and those who claim it should remain illegal for good has been going on forever. People are gradually beginning to accept the health benefits of marijuana. Various cities, states and countries around the globe are legalizing medicinal marijuana at present.
For those who don’t know, Marijuana, weed, cannabis, whatever you may call it, comes from the plant Cannabis sativa, better known as hemp plant. And it usually refers to its dried stem, leaves, flowers and seeds. The principle chemical present in the plant is THC, Tetrahydrocannabinol, which is responsible for different kinds of reactions in the brain.
Basically, how marijuana affects our body and mind is; THC inhaled passes on to the blood stream, which then reaches to the brain and other parts of the body. Our brain produces similar chemicals like THC which is useful for normal brain development and function. THC reacts with the brain receptors, which ordinarily react with THC-like chemicals. Then comes the “high”, as certain areas of the brain are over-activated. Contrary to the popular belief, weed does not make you deranged. In fact, scientists are yet to discover any long term effects of Marijuana.
Nonetheless, this naturally growing drug does have various effects on our body and mind.
Things That Happen to Your Body When You Smoke Pot
It Feels Really Good
An area in the brain when hit by THC releases dopamine, which is a feel-good chemical. This chemical is produced when we do something that makes us happy. Simpler examples would be eating, having sex, adventure sport. When this system of the brain is over-stimulated, it creates feelings of euphoria, which can then cause the user to be dependent on the substance. This is usually the case with drugs of abuse like cocaine. Researchers have failed to prove that Marijuana is addictive, however the feel-good chemical could cause the user to continue in-taking marijuana.
Body and Mind Feels Unbalanced
When Marijuana is inhaled, THC released in the brain cells hits certain areas in the brain which are responsible for our basic actions such as balance(to be able to stand/sit without falling down), posture, co-ordination and reaction. Behaviors get quite clumsy and the reaction time is also considerably slower. Instinctive brain functions like ability to drive is also affected. However, the effects are temporary and the users will feel back in full health in a matter of hours.
The myth about marijuana, that it creates intense feelings of anxiety, fear, or panic in particular is false. This usually depends on the current state of mind of the user himself. Users who are already paranoid will most likely feel intense fear, and, users who are relaxed are most likely to have a great time.
Supposed Mental Derangement
After the in-take of substantial amount of Marijuana, the user might experience extreme hallucinations and delusions. This might cause them to lose consciousness of the real world, in which case, it is also possible for them to not-remember their personal identity. This is in no-way related to the derangement of mind and is just one of the temporary effects.
After the THC hits certain areas in the brain responsible for our basic senses like hearing and sight, it is not uncommon for users to hear “repeated” sounds or dream with their conscience still in-tact. These hallucinations last until either it is replaced by some new form of hallucination, or until the effects of the chemical begin to decline.
Ever Lasting Weary Feeling
Researchers have discovered that THC affects a certain area in the brain which is responsible for our sleep patterns. Effect in the particular brain area causes disruption in our pattern, especially the phase of the sleep which makes us feel re-energized when waking up.
Increase in Heart Rate
Increase in heart beat is one of the immediate effect of smoking weed, which will eventually come back to normal within 20 minutes to an hour. There have been speculations about its long term effect in risking heart attack. But, no such facts have yet been generated till date.
Causes Red Eye
THC is responsible for expanding certain blood-vessels in the eye. Hence, causing the red eyes, which is a dead giveaway to identify stoners.
In contrast to popular belief, dry mouth is not simply due to the inhale of hot smoke. Receptors struck by THC are responsible for saliva production. And, inhaling the THC prohibits the production of saliva. Again, this is only a temporary effect.
Anybody who has smoked weed, ever, knows the craving of food right after you smoke. The interest and enjoyment of food is amplified due to the THC interacting with the receptors in the brain area. Smokers have been particularly known to develop cravings for sweet items like chocolates, cakes.
Blockage in Memory Formation
The principle component of the drug effects in the brain area called hippocampus. This might cause the disruption in the flow of information and memory formation. Researchers, based on results from animal studies, have come to a conclusion that this is more likely to happen when the brain is still developing.
Although not proven yet, if the researchers are correct, smoking from early age might even cause cognitive impairment. This will dull the brain-reaction in comparison to the normal and also lower the IQ of the user.