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The Physical Effects Of Marijuana

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There are a variety of ways to take marijuana. Whichever way is chosen a person will receive physical effects that need to be understood.

What causes the effects?

Cannabis sativa is the hemp plant that marijuana comes from. It contains an active ingredient known as THC that is responsible for those ‘high’ feelings. THC also works with other compounds to affect your body in different ways.

How is marijuana taken?

Most users smoke a mix of the plants flowers, stems, dried leaves and seeds. Some will eat it mixed in foods; cakes and brownies are a favourite ‘snack’, others will drink it brewed as a tea and some will even inhale it using a vapouriser.

Effective whichever way it is taken:

It does not matter how a user takes marijuana it will get into their system. Once inside the body THC and other chemicals will affect almost every bodily organ. It also has major effects on the nervous and immune systems.

Smoking means THC absorption is immediate, other methods will take a while longer because the body needs to absorb the THC. Once absorbed it then needs to be broken down in the stomach before it enters the bloodstream. These effects generally last between 3 to 4 hours from onset.

Possible negative effects:

There are several negative effects that users need to be aware of. Here are 5:

  • Increased heart rate: Those who smoke marijuana can expect their heart rate to increase by as much as twice the normal rate for up to 3 hours after use.
  • Possible heart attack: This abnormal increase in heart rate can lead to a heart attack
  • Bleeding: Any bleeding can be increased
  • Blood Pressure: THC can lower blood pressure and affect a person’s blood sugar levels negatively.
  • Lung irritation: While it is not yet clear whether smoking marijuana increases the risk of lung cancer, it is known that it irritates the lungs. This is why many regular smokers of marijuana suffer from incessant, niggly coughs, more chest colds than would normally be expected and an increased chance of lung infections.

Other physical effects that will be experienced:

Those high on marijuana will display numerous recognizable effects that will be evident to others as well as themselves. These include:

  • Dilated pupils and red eyes
  • Shallow breathing
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Slowed reaction times. This makes it very important that while high you do not drive a vehicle or operate machinery. The chances of accidents while under the influence of marijuana will be increased.

Longer term effects:

Those who use marijuana on a regular basis find they will have several joints each day. Continued and excessive use has not been proven to lead to a dependence upon the drug, but if those who have been using for a long time try to cease use they will suffer physical withdrawal symptoms.

These include cravings for the drug, increased irritability, a difficulty in sleeping and a reduced appetite.

Such effects often mean that a user will not resist the draw of marijuana for long and will be back on the pipe or rolling another joint very quickly.

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