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Controversial Narcotics Facts - All About Marijuana

Marijuana is one of the most well known narcotics worldwide It is also called hashish, weed, pot, grass, cannabis and Mary Jane among others. According to University of Maryland Medical Center, every 2 in 5 Americans would have experimented at least once with this type of narcotics(1) Research shows that about 1 in every 11 people who try marijuana once will become addicted to it(2) The risk is much higher when the first time with these narcotics is during the teens,( i.e) 1 in every 6.

Statistics show that 61 percent of persons admitted for treatment and de-addiction from marijuana narcotics use are 15 years of age, 56 percent fall into the 15-19 years of age bracket.

What is marijuana?

Marijuana is a drug that is derived from the plant Cannabis Sativa. The active ingredient in this plant is known as THC or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) It is often known as fun narcotics as it is easily found on the streets and used by school and college going kids.

What are the effects of this drug?

Physiologically, marijuana increases the heart rate considerably. As with most narcotics, marijuana is psychoactive or mind-altering. In other words, it affects the mind. It impairs short-term memory, alters sense of time, slows down reflex reactions, throws off coordination, reduces inhibitions, and can induce paranoia It also distorts perception of sight, sound, touch and time.

Studies show that students will not remember anything they studied when they were high ( intoxicated with the drug) When things go wrong with this drug, there is a feeling of acute anxiety/ panic as well as loss of control. These types of adverse symptoms due to the narcotics use may last up to 2-3 hours.

Another dangerous side-effect of marijuana narcotics is that it builds courage to sample other more powerful and harmful drugs. For example, research with animals point at the possibility that marijuana makes the use of opiate drugs highly pleasant (and therefore more tempting).

In small amounts marijuana induces "good" effects such as increased appetite, a feeling of complete relaxation and freedom, a feeling of happiness, and enhanced energy levels. When used in excess the same narcotics would cause the most unpleasant effects, such as

bloodshot eyes high level of anxiety/ panic total lack of coordination in movement; inability to perform simple hallucinations (seeing and hearing things that are not there) breathlessness lack of concentration and inability to focus on anything respiratory problems rapid heartbeat and high blood pressure sore throat insomnia acute irritability and violent behavior body spasms, convulsions death

How long do the effects of marijuana stay in the body?

THC - the active ingredient in this drug - is readily absorbed by all the tissues in the body, but it is partial to the fatty tissues Identified by the body as a foreign chemical, the THC is isolated by the body's immune system and turned into metabolites. Tests have found these metabolites in urine as long as one week after marijuana was smoked. Tests on animals involving radioactive metabolites found traces in the tissues as long as one month after it was introduced in the body.

What does "burnout" mean?

Prolonged marijuana narcotics users are seen suffering from specific symptoms such as dullness, inattentive, total lack of interest in anything around them, non-responsiveness to friends and sometimes inability to connect to reality and their surroundings. This state is known as "burnout" At this stage it Is almost impossible to talk any sense into the narcotics addicted person, for he is beyond any reason or care.

What are the effects of marijuana on the body?

Continuous use of marijuana affects all parts of the body:

Lungs - the use marijuana narcotics induces almost the same effects on the lungs as smoking A marijuana narcotics smoker increases susceptibility to respiratory tract infections, including pneumonia.

Brain - marijuana affects memory, ability to fee| pleasure, coordination, and appetite It also alters the ability to judge clearly, and reduces inhibitions (which in turn leads to promiscuity, STDs, HIV and AIDS) In some cases, it causes acute paranoia that leads to violence towards self and others.

Heart - marijuana narcotics increases heartbeat by as much as 50% (depending on the amount of THC, is also increases blood pressure. It can also cause chest pain and exacerbate heart problems in those who already suffer from circulatory problems.

Reproductive system - continuous use of marijuana may cause temporary infertility. It is also known to affect the weight of the fetus and cause premature births in pregnant women.

The other side of marijuana - the healing touch

Marijuana is approved by the FDA and legally sold and used in 16 states across the USA The medical conditions for which it is prescribed and sold through drugstores are,

- for treatment of chronic pain and spasticity
- for treatment of glaucoma (eye disorder)
- for enhancing appetite in patients who suffer from AIDS
- for aiding appetite in patients treated for cancer with chemotherapy
- for reducing nausea symptoms caused by chemotherapy

Quitting dependence on marijuana narcotics is possible

It is possible to quit using marijuana narcotics, especially when it is in the beginning of the addiction cycle. There are many research studies looking for the most effective way to de-addict a person. At present however, the methods include group support, family encouragement and active counseling. There are also specially designed programs for teenagers who seem to be in the highest risk bracket for marijuana addiction.

What are the withdrawal symptoms when you stop talking marijuana?

As with all narcotics de-addiction, a person who abstains from marijuana would suffer from withdrawal symptoms. These are very similar to the nicotine withdrawal symptoms. There is an intense craving for the drug in the first 7-15 days Among the symptoms most experienced are,

- acute anxiety
- inability to sleep
- irritability and tearfulness
- intense craving for the drug

Marijuana is often taken the first time as a fun drug, at a party or among a peer group during some type of celebration

Say 'NO' the first time and every time. It is not worth the few hours of pleasure if it endangers your whole body and even life. In case you do feel that you or a loved one is falling prey to addiction with marijuana, get help and find a support group that can get you out of its harmful grasp Stay healthy; stay safe.