The Effects Of Marijuana On The Brain Essay

Marijuana Use And The Effect On Teens

"It just helps you get through the day, you know? Helps you relax. It's like an illegal form of Paxil or a mental massage." This quote is taken from a 17 year-old honor student (who shall remain nameless for her protection) who started smoking marijuana at 16. She was in the top 11% of her class with prospects of being a psychologist and living in New York by 23; However, she is now presiding in the barrios of Houston, married to a drug dealer, and gets high every night to forget this. Marijuana is one of the most predominantly used drugs amongst teens. Through research via Internet and literature sources, on can see that frequent marijuana use can have lasting effects and serious damage to the teen age mental state. So how and what exactly does marijuana damage the mind?

Marijuana is "a green, brown, or gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the hemp plant. (Its also called) pot, herb, weed, grass, boom, Mary Jane, gangster, or chronic." -definition obtained from nida.nih.gov "Some studies show that deep inside the brain, THC (the most psychoactive chemical compound inside marijuana) may suppress the neurons of the hippocampus -- where short-term memories are processed and sent to other brain areas for storage. As a result, the ability to learn and to remember recent events may be hampered."-from Marijuana; at Issue, by William Dudley. Some other side effects of marijuana use are dilated blood vessels, red eyes and inflamed nasal tissue, chronic bronchitis, and it may lead to cancer. The irritating smoke can do damage to delicate tissues in the lungs and airways, sometimes leading to lung infections. Its also possible that the THC in marijuana could impair white blood cells from fighting infections. Moreover pot damages "the pituitary gland, which regulates sex hormones. In men, some studies show sperm production can drop. And in women, ovulation may be inhibited."-from Marijuana; at Issue, by William Dudley. But is marijuana addictive?

Frequent marijuana use can sometimes lead to addiction. Many people who use marijuana frequently cannot suppress their urges to use the substance and will do anything for their next "hit", even if it means damaging family relationships and academic performance. Some people develop a tolerance for the substance, and require more and more amounts of it to obtain a "high". Many people who use marijuana become addicted to other more harmful drugs, like cocaine, crack, mescaline, LSD, and amphetamines. These drugs have some of the same mental effect as marijuana. From nida.nih.gov -- "Some studies show that when people have smoked large amounts of marijuana for years, the drug takes its toll on mental functions. Heavy or daily use of marijuana affects the parts of the brain that control memory, attention, and learning. A working short-term memory is needed to...

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To many, marijuana is seen as a horrible narcotic that causes many physical and social problems. To others, it's a harmless drug that gives the body a relaxing sensation. Marijuana can be found on many college campuses and high schools. It is estimated that at least 70 million Americans have tried it, and of those people, 10-14% become dependent of the drug (1). Marijuana is often referred to as the "gateway" drug, leading the user to more serious narcotics. Marijuana users experience different sensations, from excessive mellowness, fuzzy memory, to the munchies. Some of the typical effects are impairment of memory, alteration of memory, motor coordination, posture, cognitive ability, and sensory perception. So what is it in marijuana…show more content…

The receptors are coupled with G-proteins and mediate the inhibition of adenylyl cyclase activity, which in turn reduce the production of cyclic AMP, cAMP. The reduction of cAMP formation blocks calcium ion flow into the cells, which would disrupt the formation of action potentials. This may attribute to some of the side effects to marijuana use (4). Cyclic AMP and calcium ions regulate several neurotransmitters, including acetylcholine and dopamine (1). This may account for the nice and mellow feeling people experience when smoking pot.

The precise physiopathological responses between the stimulation and inactivation of endocannabinoid receptors are still unclear, however, it is known that the performance of the nervous system and the peripheral processes, such as modulation of neurotransmitters, control of immune, gastrointestinal, reproductive, and cardiovascular systems are impacted. By observing the actions of the CB1 receptor, researchers are able to determine different response pathways. The actions of the CB1 receptors interact with thermoregulatory systems in the body. CB1 receptors also interact with sensory perception such as hearing, color vision, and touch. Motor responses are also affected by CB1 receptors, some motor responses being movement, coordination, posture, and muscle function. THC has a high affinity to CB1 receptors, which may account for the different sensations when one gets "high. Often times, a person under the influence of

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