,,,,,Marijuana can be harmful in a number of ways. Yet, nearly 98 million Americans over the age of 12 have tried marijuana at least once in their life. Just because it’s common, doesn’t make it a smart choice. It’s always a good idea to know the facts.
,,,,,In addition to the many negative health affects, Marijuana impairs memory, judgment, and perception. Altered decision-making abilities may lead users to legal problems or risky sexual behavior, including unplanned pregnancies and exposure to sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV.
....What is it?
.....Marijuana is a green, brown, or gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the hemp plant. There are many different names for marijuana and they vary from one part of the country to another. Marijuana contains THC (delta-9- tetrahydrocanna binol), and more than 400 other chemicals. Most often, it is smoked like a cigarette (“joint”), but it can also be mixed in with food, or consumed in other forms such as in teas and baked goods.
....Is it addictive?
.....Some people can become highly addicted to the drug. They cannot control their urges to seek out and use marijuana, even though it negatively affects their life. According to one study, marijuana use by teenagers who have prior antisocial problems can quickly lead to addiction. Marijuana addicts crave the drug and experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using it. These symptoms include depression, restlessness, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, weight loss, nausea and shaky hands. Babies born to women using marijuana may have withdrawal symptoms.
....What are some of the health and behavior concerns?
.....Many studies show serious health concerns. One study explains that an abuser's risk of suffering a heart attack more than quadruples in the first hour after smoking marijuana. Marijuana effects blood pressure and heart rate and reduced oxygen-carrying capacity of blood. Even infrequent use can cause burning and stinging of the mouth and throat, often accompanied by a heavy cough.
.....As people age, they normally lose nerve cells in a region of the brain that is important for remembering events and where memories are formed. Chronic exposure to marijuana may cause this to happen even more quickly. Marijuana also affects short-term memory and may make it difficult to complete even simple tasks.
......Long-term marijuana use may lead to lack of motivation, not caring about what happens in one’s life, no desire to work regularly, fatigue, and a lack of concern for one’s appearance. Students who use marijuana may find it hard to study and learn. It may also impact athletic performance since marijuana affects timing, movements, and coordination. Because of the drug’s effects on alertness, concen- tration, coordination, perceptions and reaction time, marijuana users are at higher risk of being involved in car accidents.
....Smoking marijuana may be more harmful to the lungs...
than smoking tobacco.
.....A group of scientists in California examined the health status of 450 daily marijuana smokers who did not consume tobacco. They found that the marijuana smokers had more sick days and more doctor visits for respiratory problems and other types of illness than a similar group who only smoked tobacco. Other studies have shown that tobacco smoke and marijuana smoke may work together to change the tissues lining the respiratory tract. People who smoke marijuana regularly may develop many of the same breathing problems that tobacco smokers have, such as daily cough and phlegm production, more frequent chest colds, a heightened risk of lung infections, and a greater tendency toward obstructed airways.
.....Like tobacco, marijuana contains many chemicals that can hurt the lungs and cause cancer. In fact, marijuana smoke contains 50 to70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke. It may also accelerate the changes that ultimately produce malignant cells. Marijuana smoking doubles or triples the risk of developing... Continued >
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