Friday, September 24, 2021

A Brief Introduction to Cannabis


The cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa L.) has been used as medicine, food, or fiber for thousands of years. Flowers and leaves from the cannabis plants are covered with tiny crystal-like structures, and it is these structures which are responsible for producing cannabis’ active ingredients: Cannabinoids (THC and CBD) and terpenes. THC also known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is what gives cannabis its intoxicating effects, while CBD also known as cannabidiol is purported to modulate some of the effects of THC3.

While hemp and marijuana plants will differ in physical appearance and chemical make-up, they are not different enough genetically to be considered separate species. For this reason, both hemp and marijuana are collectively known as cannabis

The majority of Americans don’t have any more of a problem with marijuana than they do with alcohol. Some states have even legalized recreational marijuana use. This doesn’t mean marijuana use is risk-free. 

  • Social changes
  • Employment or academic struggles
  • Reduced cognitive and physical abilities
  • Legal troubles
  • Financial concerns

The short-term side effects of marijuana aren’t life-threatening, but there are potential dangers of use. When a person ingests cannabis, the drug releases THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in the brain. This mind-altering chemical causes several effects, which may result in a person experiencing physical and psychological symptoms.

It’s not uncommon for people to also experience heart attacks following marijuana use, especially when it has a more potent concentration of THC. A person’s risk of heart attack can increase up to five times within the first hour after smoking cannabis vape. This is because it raises blood pressure and heart rate while reducing the blood’s ability to carry oxygen.

  • Paranoia
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Overeating
  • chest pain
  • nausea or vomiting, neck
  • jaw or back pain
  • Anxiety
  • Impaired cognition

The long-term side effects of marijuana abuse aren’t as damaging as other drugs. He longer a person uses marijuana, the more exposed they are to THC and its effects. Over time, marijuana abuse can lead to the development of many dangerous conditions and adverse health effects. Some possible side effects of long-term use may include:

  • Mood swings
  • Reduced ability to learn
  • Lung infections
  • Inhibited mental development
  • Panic attacks
  • Memory loss

When a person ingests too much marijuana, an overdose (essentially drug poisoning) occurs. You may have had a nonfatal overdose on marijuana if you experienced these symptoms:

  • Unease
  • Shaking
  • Extreme hallucinations
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Extreme paranoia

It’s possible to experience an overdose on any form of marijuana, but it’s particularly likely when eating marijuana edibles. This often occurs because inexperienced edible users don’t realize how long it takes to feel the effects of the drug and eat an increased dose. This is more likely to occur with teenagers who have never taken edibles before, or even with small children who eat an edible without knowing it contains cannabis.

The overdose is typically nonfatal, it may be important to treat the overdose as a medical emergency and seek immediate medical treatment. One can visit their doctor’s office or a hospital right away.

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