Effects Of Marijuana

.. tute of Drug Abuse are correct, the suppressed neurones of the hippocampus caused by marijuana use, and McCance and Huether’s (1998) research into the suppressed neurones of the hippocampus the following can be concluded. Presence of suppressed neurones in schizophrenia patients clearly links the common theory of a cause of drug induced schizophrenia as being contributed to by marijuana use/abuse. According to Continuing Medical Education, Inc. (www.mhsource.com) this is the reason as to why marijuana had the harmful psychological effect of contributing to drug induced schizophrenia on some individuals who are chronic smokers of marijuana.

(www.mhsource.com) Chronic abuse of marijuana is also associated with the harmful psychological effects of impaired attention span and memory (www.nida.nih.gov). Prenatal exposure to marijuana has been associated with the psychological effects of impaired verbal reasoning and memory in preschool children. (www.nida.nih.gov). Of possible relevance are findings from animal studies showing chronic exposure to THC, biologically affects the animals because THC damages and destroys nerve cells and causes pathological changes in the hippocampus. This form of damage is irreversible and long term. This illustrates the theory that the same damaging biological effect that marijuana has had on these animals’ nerve cells probably also occur in human beings. Hence, it can be reasoned that marijuana had the harmful biological effect of destroying nerve cells which, in turn, causes the psychological damage of impaired memory, and attention span of individuals using marijuana (www.nida.nih.gov). According to the Central Coast Area Health Service (1998) (CCAHS) the main effects of initial marijuana use is on cognitive functioning. CCAHS (1998, P.2) states that these . .

. effects are exerted through cannabinoid receptors that are located in both the hippocampus and cortex of the brain. High densities of cannabinoid receptors also appear in the basal ganglia and cerebellum. Furthermore, CCHAS (1998) also believes that this is consistent with the findings that cannabinoids absorbed from marijuana consumption has the harmful short-term effects of interfering with coordination. Another chronic harmful effect of marijuana use is the psychological effect that cannabis has on motivation.

Particularly in adolescents, chronic use of marijuana interferes with developmental tasks such as academic achievement, separation from parents, formation of peer relationships, the making of life choices and goal setting. THC simply affects individuals in such a way that from chronic use individuals loose all of the mentioned wants, goals, and relationship strengths (Baumrind and Moselle 1985). The acute harmful effects of marijuana, also referred to as a high, or ‘altered state of consciousness’. (Hall, Solowij and Lemon 1994) This state is characterised by emotional changes, and increased sensory experiences such as increased perception of listening to music, sexual intercourse, or eating food. As stated earlier in the paper, each individual’s perception of a ‘high’ differs greatly.

Some common unpleasant experiences, however, include anxiety, panic attacks and depressed mood. Hall, Solowij and Lemon (1994) state that these effects are mostly found in the inexperienced user. Are these effects of marijuana consumption psychologically harmful? Hall, Solowij and Lemon (1994) describe these acute effects as harmful if marijuana is used often, however, this seems quite subjective, considering these are very short term effects. If the user continues smoking, it could definitely be considered harmful, however, as a single case experience for an individual, it is not considered harmful by Hall, Solowij and Lemon (1994). Biologically, the acute effects of marijuana may be short term, and immediately not necessarily damaging. An increase in heart rate will occur, when marijuana fumes are first inhaled, and the increased heart rate is likely to last up to 3 hours (Hall, Solowij and Lemon 1994).

This is not of any concern to young healthy individuals, however, it may have an adverse effect on older users with illnesses such as ischaemic heart disease, hypertension, and cerebrovascular disease. Apart from the fact that cannabis causes an increased heart rate, which obviously can cause some problems for some people, cannabis can cause severe harm to other patients (Hall, Solowij and Lemon 1994). Cannabis acts on the body to increase catecholamine production, which may cause arrhythmias and result in angina. This paper has merely touched the surface of the topic of marijuana. The acute and chronic harmful biological and psychological effects of marijuana on individuals has been thoroughly discussed. Further, the topic of marijuana is perpetual and complex, and, hence, purposely the question answered in this paper has been very narrow for the purpose of focusing in detail on a very narrow part of the marijuana issue.

It has been documented in this paper that the use of marijuana is widespread by all classes, races, and cultures. It has been discussed in that marijuana has been used for a multitude of purposes over thousands of years, and is still, today, is being used for many of the same purposes. Some of the outcomes of the usage of marijuana have been discussed with a major focus on the biological and psychological harm that marijuana causes on individuals. A brief history of marijuana was been reviewed in order for the reader to comprehend the circumstances of the place marijuana has in society. The outcomes associated with the use and abuse of marijuana, have been discussed and were divided up in two groups for the purpose of simplifying the issue for greater understanding. Finally, this paper has achieved the aim of outlining the use of marijuana and has identified the acute and chronic harmful biological and psychological effects of marijuana on individuals.

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