The Effects of
on the Body
Marijuana comes from the Cannabis plant. The flowers, seeds, leaves, and stems of the plant must be shredded and dried before they can be used. Most people who use marijuana smoke it, but it can be mixed into food, brewed into tea, or even used in a vaporizer. One of the ingredients in marijuana is a mind-altering chemical called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
When you inhale marijuana smoke into your lungs, it is quickly released into your bloodstream on its way to your brain and other organs. It takes a little longer to be absorbed when you eat or drink it.
The effects of marijuana on the body are immediate. Longer-term effects may depend on how you take it, how much you take, and how often you use it. Since its use has long been illegal in the United States, large-scale studies have been difficult to manage.
In recent years, the medicinal properties of marijuana are gaining acceptance in mainstream America. Medical marijuana is now legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia. THC and another ingredient called cannabidol (CBD) are the main substances of therapeutic interest. National Institutes of Health-funded research into the possible medicinal uses of THC and CBD is ongoing.
In addition to medicinal use, recent legislation has made marijuana a legal recreational drug in Colorado and Washington State. With the potential for increased recreational use, knowing the effects that marijuana can have on your body is as important as ever.
Like tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke contains a mixture of toxic chemicals and carcinogens that can irritate your lungs in the short term and potentially lead to long-term problems. Read more.
If you smoke often, you’re likely to cough and produce a lot of phlegm. Read more.
Frequent smoking can irritate your bronchial passages and increase your risk of developing bronchial infection. Read more.
THC may interfere with tumor growth as it is carried throughout your body in your bloodstream. Read more.
Smoking marijuana causes an almost immediate increase in your heartbeat that can last for hours. Read more.
Those red eyes are caused by the chemical THC, which makes the blood vessels in your eyes expand. Read more.
Marijuana triggers the brain to release dopamine, giving you a “high” and affecting your sensory perception. Read more.
Changes in your hippocampus affect your ability to form fresh memories. Read more.
THC alters the way you process information, so your judgment skills may be off. Read more.
Balance and coordination are affected by marijuana, and your reflexes may be slower than usual. Read more.
Marijuana can lower pressure within the eyes and relieve symptoms of glaucoma for a short time. Read more.
Babies whose mothers use marijuana while pregnant may develop memory and concentration problems. Read more.
Marijuana may temporarily relieve inflammation and provide relief from pain. Read more.
A small percentage of marijuana users develop an addiction and have temporary withdrawal symptoms when they stop. Read more.
Marijuana smoke may burn your mouth and throat. Read more.
Marijuana stimulates the appetite, which can be useful for people being treated for cancer or AIDS. Read more.
Marijuana can ease nausea and vomiting. Read more.
THC might harm the immune system, making you more vulnerable to illness. Read more.
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