Weed, pot, dope, ganja, Mary Jane, cannabis – whatever you want to call it – marijuana use is more popular than ever. More and more places are legalising marijuana for recreational purposes as well as for medical use. But one has to wonder, what happens to your body when you smoke marijuana? Are there any downsides to smoking pot? How bad is it for you really? Can marijuana cause lung cancer? We answer all of them for you.
Marijuana is the part of the cannabis plant that includes the flower, seed, leaves, and stems. Most people consume marijuana by smoking it. When you inhale the smoke the jug goes into your bloodstream and makes its way to your brain and the rest of your body. If you are eating marijuana in cakes or brownies, the effect is a little bit different and it takes a lot longer to take hold. But we are not talking about eating marijuana, we just want to clear your doubts about smoking marijuana.
Light-Headedness and a Feeling of Ecstasy
Firstly, let's start with what it does to your brain. THC and CBD are two of the major active ingredients in cannabis. THC increases pleasure centres in the brain which release dopamine. It is the same THC that makes you feel high - lightheaded, happy, and relaxed at the same time. People Who Smoke Marijuana Weigh Less, Says Study.
In addition to the euphoria, dopamine heightens your sensory perception. This is why food might taste different or better when you smoke weed. Your pain can feel more intense and you are far more sensitive to being touched. When you are in the effect of weed, colours look more intense and music sounds better. Your sense of time may also become distorted. Researchers think that this might be due to marijuana's effect of altering blood flow to the cerebellum.
Marijuana like alcohol impairs your judgement. The way you process information may be different depending on the person. It is an effective way to combat depression but once you are going through withdrawals of marijuana, the depression may return with a vengeance. It can also help with anxiety by helping you relax or could even make your anxiety worse.
Impaired Attention and Memory
Heavy users may also experience impairment of attention and memory. You may find that when you smoke marijuana, your short term memory is not as sharp. Your balance, coordination, and posture are also affected when you smoke pot.
The eyes become bloodshot as THS causes the blood vessels in your eyes to expand. You must have noticed your eyes turning red almost immediately after you smoke. Health Benefits of Medical Marijuana: From Anxiety to Seizures, 5 Problems Cannabis Can Help You Fight.
Let's move down the body. Many people who smoke marijuana will cough, experience dry mouth and a sore throat. These effects are temporary but smoking it, in general, is pretty bad for your lungs. Excessive smoking can irritate your bronchial passages, increasing your risk of bronchitis. Frequent smokers also produce a lot of phlegm.
Heightened Heart Rate
Almost immediately after you smoke weed, your heart rate is accelerated and this heightened heart rate can last hours. When you smoke, your heart rate may increase by 20-25 beats per minute. Marijuana Alters Sperm? Erectile Dysfunction and Other Effects of Cannabis on Sex and Fertility.
When you are smoking actively, you suddenly develop an appetite. This is commonly known as the munchies. Marijuana activates the hypothalamus which increases appetite. This particular side effect of marijuana can be very useful for patients suffering from AIDS as well as combatting nausea that cancer patients experience when they are being treated with chemotherapy. But if you are trying to lose weight, the munchies are a side effect that causes unnecessary overeating. So if you are on a diet, maybe refrain from smoking marijuana.
Can Smoking Weed Cause Lung Cancer?
There are health risks associated with smoking marijuana. The risks may not be as severe as smoking cigarettes but they are still evident. Marijuana smoke does contain chemicals as well as carcinogens, so there is a high chance that it could cause an increased risk of lung cancer. However, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, at this time there is no conclusive evidence that marijuana smoke causes lung cancer. Many of the effects of cannabis on your lungs are temporary and will go away once you stop smoking.
There still needs to be a lot more research into the effect of cannabis on humans. Key risk groups that should avoid marijuana are pregnant women and adolescent consumers as it could affect developing brains. People who are predisposed to schizophrenia and other forms of psychosis, as well as people who are bipolar or are depressed, must stay away from cannabis. The endocannabinoid anandamide in marijuana can lower the sperm count in men, so avoid it if you are trying to become a dad.