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- Marijuana over-activates part of the brain that have the highest number of specific receptors that will naturally react with THC-like chemicals. This creates the “high” that most people feel. The effects are altered senses (e.g. seeing brighter colors), altered sense of time, mood changes, impaired body movement, difficulty with thinking/problem-solving, and memory problems.
- When taken in high doses, an individual may experience hallucinations, delusions, or psychosis.
- Marijuana affects brain development. It can impair thinking, memory, and learning functions and affect how the brain builds those connections, especially if marijuana use began during teenage years.
- Long-term marijuana use can lead to a reduction of IQ points.
- A study from New Zealand conducted in part by researchers at Duke University showed that people who started smoking marijuana heavily in their teens and had an ongoing marijuana use disorder lost an average of 8 IQ points between ages 13 and 38. The lost mental abilities didn't fully return in those who quit marijuana as adults. Those who started smoking marijuana as adults didn't show notable IQ declines.
Meier MH, Caspi A, Ambler A, et al. Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012;109(40):E2657-E2664.doi:10.1073/pnas.1206820109.
- Marijuana smoke can irritate the lungs. Those who smoke marijuana regularly can have the same breathing problems as those who smoke tobacco.
Increased heart rate
- Marijuana raises the heart rate for up to 3 hours after smoking. This can increase the chance of a heart attack, especially for older people and those with heart problems.
Nausea and vomiting
- Regular, long-term use can lead to Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome, which causes regular cycles of severe nausea, vomiting, and dehydration.
- Long-term marijuana use has been linked to temporary hallucinations, temporary paranoia, and worsening symptoms in patients with schizophrenia
- Those who frequently use large amounts of marijuana report lower life satisfaction, more relationship problems, and less academic/career success.
- Marijuana is also linked to a higher likelihood of dropping out of school, as well as more absences, accidents, and injuries.
What about effects from inhaling secondhand marijuana smoke?
Can I fail a drug test?
- It’s highly unlikely. There’s very little THC released in the air when the person exhales. Even if THC was found in the blood, it wouldn’t be enough to fail a test.
Can I get a contact high?
- It’s highly unlikely for the same reason stated above. Studies show that people who don’t use marijuana report only mild effects from a nearby smoker, and this is only when they’re in an enclosed room breathing in smoke for hours.
Is marijuana a gateway drug?
- Animal studies have shown that early exposure to THC may change how the brain responds to other drugs. For example, when rodents are exposed to THC when they’re young, they later show an enhanced response to other addictive substances (morphine or nicotine).
- Even though that study supports the idea of marijuana being a “gateway drug”, the majority of people who use marijuana don’t go on to use other “harder” drugs.
Can you overdose on marijuana?
There are currently no reports of teens or adults dying from marijuana alone.
Are You Smoking Marijuana Too Often?
Here are some signs that you just may be using to much.
1. Is your cannabis consumption interfering with your relationships?
There are various dynamics between people who like pot and people who prefer alcohol - or no intoxicants at all. One of my sons, a therapist, says he prefers to talk to me when I’m straight because he feels I’m more present, so I’m careful not to call him after smoking. Consider whether you’d get along better with someone you love if you didn’t consume so much.
2. Is it adversely affecting your productivity?
Is it slowing or dulling your thoughts when you want them to be quick and sharp? You may be using marijuana for inspiration only to find you’re routinely falling asleep! For some people, cannabis brings greater clarity and focus; for others (perhaps most of us), it’s just the reverse.
3. Does your need to get high stop you from doing things you would otherwise enjoy?
That is, do you have anti-acrophobia, the fear of not being high? Would you turn down a job or vacation if you couldn’t use the herb? Do you assess each situation as to whether or not you can get stoned?
4. Is it impacting your memory?
When you’re stoned, it’s harder to lay down memories. Pot imparts a cozy glow, so it’s tempting to reach for the pipe when vegging in front of the TV, but if you light up, you’ll might forget the plot of the movie you’re watching (until you fall asleep), and in a few days, you may well forget that you’ve watched it at all. Your experience has been etched in water.
5. Are you more fatigued than you’d like to be?
Are you yawning at inappropriate times? Are you tired after a day of not much activity? Do you need nine hours’ sleep — or more? You might experiment to learn the relationship between your smoking and your energy level.
6. Are you breaking your personal pot rules?
We all have them. Some of us vow that we won’t drive or go to work or visit mom when high. Yet suddenly we find we’re making exceptions: it’s only a mile, it’s casual Friday, she’ll never even notice. You made those rules for a reason; breaking them means you’re losing control of your cannabis use. It’s usually better to feel in control.
7. Do you feel guilty about smoking?
Though there’s still a certain social stigma to getting high, by now you’ve probably blown right through it. But perhaps you still beat yourself up about how much you smoke. Perhaps you acknowledge that you should smoke less, but somehow you just can’t cut back. This makes you feel guilty, not a good feeling. You have a choice. Get over the guilt or ... well, you know the rest.
8. Is your cannabis consumption cutting into your budget?
Whether legal or not, marijuana is expensive. The cheap Mexican at $140 an ounce is a thing of the past, and not everyone can be, or wants to be, a grower. If you get high two or three times a day, you can easily spend $300 a month for the privilege. Is this the best way for you to spend $3,600 a year?
9. Are you not getting as high as you’d like to be?
Ah, the paradox! More product doesn’t lead to more pleasure — only to tolerance. Habituation is the great hedonic demon. One test of good weed is how delightfully different it makes you feel from when you’re straight. So how can you really feel high if that’s your habitual mode?
This article was originally published by Green Flower Media
- The Tennessee Tobacco QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669) is a free resource for all Tennessee residents to connect with a quit coach to serve as a guide through the process. Online support is also available. http://www.tnquitline.org/
- Become an Ex is a free resource as a result of a collaboration between the Mayo Clinic and the Truth Initiative. It has support for planning and executing a quit attempt.
- SmokeFreeTXT is a free text messaging resource that offers 24/7 encouragement and advice.
- LIVESTRONG MyQuit Coach
Prescription Drugs Misuse
Prescription drug misuse can be defined as:
- Taking more of a prescription medication than prescribed.
- Taking a prescription medication for a reason different than that prescribed.
- Sharing or taking someone else's prescription medication.
Risks of Misuse
- There can be physical, social, and legal consequences when you misuse prescription drugs.
- Without talking to a health care provider, you can't be sure how the medication will affect you.
- All prescription drugs have side effects – and mixing alcohol (or other substances) with these products often enhances these side effects, or the intoxicating effects of alcohol. Many overdoses result from mixing prescription drugs with alcohol or other substances.
- It is a felony to possess prescription drugs without a prescription, and it is also a crime to sell or give your prescription drugs to someone else.
How to Properly Dispose of Prescription Drugs
Properly disposing of unused and expired prescription drugs can help reduce misuse of prescription drugs and reduces the environmental impact.
The best way to dispose of prescription medications is to find a prescription medication drop box.
The Drug Wheel classifies drugs as part of seven general categories: Stimulants, Depressants, Cannabinoids, Psychedelics, Opioids, Dissociatives and Empathogens. Find out about the effects of drugs and more information about specific drugs.