What Are the Negative Effects of Marijuana?

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The term ‘weed’ can be confusing. It’s used to describe a wide variety of products, and there are many tell-tale signs that can indicate quality.

Indica strains are known to be relaxing and soporific, while sativa can make you more creative or social. Hybrids combine qualities of both in different ratios.

1. It’s a drug

Marijuana, pot, weed, grass—whatever you call it, this plant-derived drug can have some serious negative effects. It’s a psychoactive substance, meaning it changes your mind and body by altering how your brain processes information. Marijuana’s main active ingredient is THC, which affects the part of your brain that responds to pleasure, like food or sex. When you smoke it (usually with a cigarette, called a joint or from different types of pipes), it’s known to give you a sense of euphoria within minutes. It can also cause a change in your mood, and some people experience feelings of fear or confusion.

Some people think that because marijuana is a “natural” plant, it must be harmless. But plants can be dangerous, too—like poisonous hemlock, for instance. Plus, if you use marijuana and have to have surgery, it could affect your ability to stay asleep under anesthesia. This is why doctors want to know whether you use it. They might reschedule your operation or require you to use more anesthesia. The best way to prevent this is by being honest with your doctor.

2. It changes your brain

Like any drug, weed can have significant changes to your body and brain. It can affect your memory, your ability to learn and even cause a psychotic episode. It can also harm your athletic performance, slowed reaction times and impair driving skills. It can also change your mood and affect how you feel. Studies show that marijuana use can increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and can make the symptoms of already diagnosed psychiatric disorders worse.

Researchers have found that heavy marijuana use during adolescence can lead to permanent IQ loss of up to 8 points. These lost IQ points do not come back, even after someone stops using marijuana. Studies also show that the main psychoactive component of weed, THC, can reduce the brain’s ability to process information. It can also affect higher level thinking skills, such as decision making, concept formation and planning.

More research is needed to understand how and if cannabis impacts the brain in the long term. But a recent study showed that long term marijuana users struggle with cognitive tests, especially in the prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain critical to decision making. This is thought to be related to a reduction in white matter, the brain fibers that connect regions and help them communicate efficiently.

3. It can affect your heart

Heart disease kills one person every 36 seconds and costs about $363 billion in healthcare, medicines and lost productivity. Many of the conditions that cause heart disease are caused by narrowing of arteries, which decreases the amount of blood and oxygen reaching your heart. This is called chronic ischemic heart disease, or CHD.

Marijuana, also known as cannabis, contains a chemical called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. THC causes a number of harmful effects on the cardiovascular system, including increased heart rate and blood pressure. It also can cause heart arrhythmias, or irregular heart beats.

A new study found that frequent marijuana smokers are more likely to have their first heart attack before age 50, and are at greater risk for a second heart attack or life-threatening arrhythmias. Researchers believe that the reason for this increase is due to the drug’s impact on the endothelial cells, which line the interior surface of blood vessels. This means that they can become inflamed and cause a narrowing of the arteries, which decreases blood flow to your heart. The findings were presented at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology.

4. It can boost your appetite

Most weed users know that smoking or eating marijuana can trigger the “munchies,” which is an increase in hunger. Scientists aren’t sure exactly why weed makes you hungry, but they think it has something to do with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). When you smoke weed, THC enters your body and binds to CB1 receptors in the basal ganglia of your brain. This stimulates many of the processes that control appetite, and it also makes food taste better than it would when you are sober.

THC also increases dopamine levels, which is a neurotransmitter that is involved in pleasure and motivation. High dopamine levels may make food more appealing, but it can also lead to overeating and weight gain.

Medical marijuana can help stimulate your appetite if you have a disease that causes nausea or lack of appetite. For people undergoing cancer treatment or suffering from AIDS, the appetite-stimulating effects of cannabis can be very beneficial. However, it is important to eat before smoking or consuming edibles because THC can interfere with your sense of smell and taste.

5. It can make you sleepy

The sedative properties of marijuana have made it a popular natural sleep aid. In some cases, it can even help people who struggle with insomnia fall asleep easier and experience longer periods of uninterrupted sleep. However, the results can vary between individuals. It can also impact the quality of sleep that a person gets, with some experiencing more vivid dreams or nightmares when using cannabis to help them fall asleep.

If you’re looking for a way to get more restful sleep, try consuming cannabis edibles that have been formulated to promote sleep. Generally, indica strains are recommended for sleepy effects as they’re known for their relaxing, calming qualities. However, sativa strains can be just as effective, especially when consumed in moderation and not before bedtime.

It’s important to note that relying on weed for sleep isn’t sustainable, as it can disrupt REM cycle and cause long-term effects on your sleeping patterns. If you are feeling groggy after smoking weed, it’s best to talk to your doctor about your symptoms.

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