Marijuana is a mood altering and psychoactive drug that has many nicknames, such as pot, weed, ganja, and herb. In South America the drug is referred to as dogga, in Turkey it is kabak, in Morocco it is called kif, and in Brazil it is popularly known as djoma (Americana 287). It is an ancient drug that dates back for hundreds of years to China. In fact, it comes from Chinese herbal dating back from 2700 B.C.(Americana 286). Many cultures have used it during meditation, religious worship, and for intoxication. Marijuana itself comes from an Indian Hemp plant. It is the third most widely used drug in the United States, and it is the number one illegally used drug in the United States. Marijuana is so popular that an estimated one out of every three people in the US have tried it and around 44% of US high school students have smoked it. A marijuana user is not easily detectable, nor is the drug just used in one area of society. The drug is very harmful and can affect your brain, heart, and lungs (Americana 287).
The Indian Hemp plant is found all over the world, including the US. There are three different types of Indian Hemp. They are Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Rudderalis (Americana 286). These three plants vary in size and mood altering effect. The hemp plant has many uses and has been farmed for centuries. Marijuana can be taken in three ways, by eating, made into a tea, or smoking (the most popular). Smoking it can be done three ways, through a pipe, a joint, and a blunt. A joint is a rolled piece of paper that is twisted at the ends. A blunt is normally an emptied cigar wrapper filled with marijuana. In a blunt you can fit much more marijuana than in a joint. Though a blunt isn’t always purely marijuana, it can be mixed with the tobacco itself, or other drugs such as angel dust. The results vary when someone smokes marijuana. Different people will get different results, and certain types of cannabis can cause different effects. The amount of tetrahydrocannabinal, or THC (marijuana’s main active chemical) may also change the result( The Effects 1). If alcohol or other drug use is occurring while smoking marijuana, the effect could be different. A first time marijuana smoker will probably feel no effect. A chronic or heavy user will feel a very high intoxication. When a person is high, normal sights, sounds, tastes, or events can seem very funny or interesting. When intoxicated, time seems to pass a lot slower. To the user, minutes will seem like hours. The intoxicated person may get very thirsty or hungry, a common effect called, “the munchies.” A few minutes after the person inhales they will probably develop dry mouth, a rapid heartbeat, decreased reaction time, and possible loss of coordination. The blood vessels in the user’s eyes will probably enlarge. This gives the person a blood shot appearance. Within two to three hours the effects will die down and the person will feel sleepy. It is clear what marijuana is, but is it harmful and how?
Many people wonder how marijuana is harmful. There are many ways that marijuana can harm the body, both the immediate effect and long term effects. It often disables the users’ short-term memory and may cause trouble with challenging tasks. Even very simple tasks can become a struggle for someone who is high. A student that is under the influence of marijuana may find it hard to learn or concentrate. A person’s timing and coordination are normally delayed by marijuana. As a result the person will be very confused and useless. The effect marijuana can have on the brain and central nervous system is very serious. Smoking marijuana will reduce the strength and speed of communications between the mind and body. This occurs in the brain and muscles, causing the user to not be as focused. Short-term marijuana use leads to drowsiness and a relaxing effect. This is why marijuana users have trouble remembering things. A heavy dose of marijuana can decrease the amount of blood pumped into the brain. Marijuana affects the brain’s control over muscles also. Heavy usage of marijuana can have a lasting effect on the users’ short-term memory. After smoking, the blood flow to the back of the brain is greater than the front. This is believed to cause the high sensation the user is trying to achieve. The short-term effect of marijuana will increase blood pressure and pulse rate up to 16 points above normal. It will also slow down the digestive processing of food. People who smoke marijuana often, will have a below normal pulse rate and low blood pressure. A chronic user may experience dizziness or even faintness. A well-known and common effect is blood shot eyes, though this effect wears off quickly (Americana 287). It seems to me, if something could affect the brain the way marijuana does I would not wan to try it. The bran is essential, what about the heart?
How does marijuana affect the heart? During the time when the user is high they will have an increased heart rate up to 50% above normal (Americana 287). The amount the heart rate increases depends on the amount of marijuana that was smoked. This will make exercise and other activities seem a lot harder. The effect could be extremely dangerous for a person with a congestive heart or with an irregular heartbeat. A chronic smoker will have a decreased heart rate, often below normal. The immediate effects of smoking marijuana on the lungs are a brief opening of the bronchial tubes. That is why marijuana has been tested for possible medical uses. It was not approved because there is a rebound reaction, which closes up the user’s airways. Marijuana also irritates lung tissue. The long-term effect of smoking marijuana regularly is close to the effects of a cigarette smoker. The amount of tobacco consumed by the cigarette smoker is a lot higher than the amount of marijuana a chronic smoker will inhale. The harmful ingredients in marijuana are a lot higher than the amount in tobacco, causing a similar effect on the lungs. Marijuana smoke in the lungs will kill cilia. Cilia moves mucous, dirt and other particles out of the lungs. Also a heavy usage of marijuana will decrease your lung’s defense against bacterial and fungal infections (The Effects 1). Marijuana harms two of the most vital parts of your body, your heart and brain, and people still smoke it everyday.
Marijuana is very harmful yet very widespread. It is an illegal drug that can harm almost every vital part of your body. It can make your memory vanish and cause your heart rate to slow, or speed up depending on the user. You could develop lung cancer or a dangerously low blood pressure. This drug isn’t deadly, but close to it. It causes Americans everyday suffering just for those few minutes or hours of a good feeling. Is it worth it?