Marijuana’s Short and Long Term Effects On The Bra

inMARIJUANAS SHORT AND LONG TERM EFFECTS ON THE BRAIN
Millions are abusing marijuana every day. In fact, 1 out of 7 high school students smoke
marijuana more than once a day. Marijuana is taken very lightly and is the most highly used
illegal drug. For this reason, society should know its short and long term effects on the brain.
Marijuana can effect these two areas emotionally or physically. Also in some cases physical
damages causes the emotional response. Although most public information on drugs are funded
by anti-drug organizations, hopefully we will still learn these true facts of marijuana in spite of
that.
The brain is the most complicated part of the human body. I will begin explaining certain
parts and their functions. In doing this to I hope to give a better understand of our brain while
implicating the possibilities of chemical induced complications The brain with its 15 billion
neurons and nerve cells operates using chemical and electrical messages: (Swanson, 1975). This
is how we perceive our senses. Differences in the way our brain translates these
messages can impair perceptions. Hallucinogens prevent the brain from receiving all of these
messages in order. All of the information that we receive is through millions of transactions of
neurons, like a computer, marijuana alters these transactions.
After smoking, or consuming marijuana, it is distributed in the brain. The concentration
of marijuana in the brain may be governed by an active transport process in the choroid plexus
network of blood vessels in the brain which regulates intraventricular pressure by absorption
and secretion of cerebro spinal fluid. one scientific experiment it gave an example of how the
distribution of marijuana in the central nervous system could effect man. At a high dose of 30
mg./kg. marked sedation and pronounced motor incoordination peaked at the one hour interval
subsiding in 8 hours when over reaction occurred to external stimuli; man reveals incapacitation
of cognitive and motor function. High concentrations of marijuana are usually found in the
following parts of the brain: the frontal cortex (the general association area), and hippocampus
(short term memory and oreintation). As a result, perception of time, mood and general
cordination is impaired. It is apparent that marijuana intoxication effects the neurological
functions and usually disappears in 24 hours, but can become a permanent malfunction.THC
effects the limbic system which is vital to some every day functions. The brain is made up of 3
basic cerebral types differing in structure, chemistry and organization (MacLean, 1970). These
are: 1) reptilian or brain stem responsible for instinctive (survival) behavior (and regulator of vital
functions of the body) 2) old mammalian (paleocortex) or limbic brain surrounding the brain
stem (like a lap or limbus) having an important role in emotional behavior and motivation
(contains opiate receptors) 3) new mammailian (neo cortex) brain (thinking cap) with the
capacity for symbolic (written and spoken language). The 3 subdivisions of the limbic cortical
system or ring are linked by 3 pathways to the brain stem. The lower part (hippocampusi
memory information) of the ring connected with the amygdala insures self-presentation
(survival). The upper part is connected to the septum which is the area for pleasure. These 2 are
connected to the olfactory which deals with sense. In addition, there is a third passageway
dealing with sexual behaviors and visual activities. Any limbic dysfunction can result in emotional
and mood disturbences alienation distortions of perceptions and paranoid states. THC can
reduce the blood flow to the hippocampus, which earlier I introduced as the controller of short
term memory and orientation.
To make a simple conclusion to all of this confusing data, marijuana results in chemical
damage effecting emotional, motivational and hormonal disturbances. After 3 months of light,
moderate and heavy use, evidence of irreversible damage can be detected.
The effects of marijuana are mostly short term. When I say short term, I mean damages
that can restore to normal. Most symptoms from heavy usage vanish in about a year and a half
of clean time. Although, not ever exactly back to normal relatively emotional and memory
abnormalites are restored. The more evident short term effects though leave in about one full
month. Since the more severe effects go away in one month one can see the potential for a
problem in a weekend smoker. In cases of consistent use, about twice a week or less results in
keeping the users of ever really being sober. The brain is one third fat. Cannabinoids are fat
soluble and not only do they collect in brain cells, but they also accumulate in billion of other
cells in the body and are consistently being released into the blood stream. In the case of
moderate twice a week use, before half of the cannabinoids that are are being stored new
cannabinoids are being introduced. The cannabinoid release process is very slow and if there is
continued use, it can make the user always stoned. Maybe not all of the effects of intoxication
will be evident, but noticeable differences in thinking and talking are evident. It takes marijuana
about 2 to 4 weeks to get out of your system. As much as one third of our youth are smoking
marijuana 1 to 3 times a week. If these statements are both is true then 1/3 of youth also should
have the problem of always being stoned.
Pot not only seems to disrupt normal learning functions but also contains emotion
altering properties Marijuana smoking adolescents seen as psychiatric outpatients showed a
decrease in attention, logical thinking, personal hygiene, performance in school, and
participation in physical and social activities compared with their pre marijuana status. These
changes revised when marijuana smoking stopped. Symptoms of cases of always being stoned
even if they havent smoked that day at all, can still include: poor social judgment, poor attention
span, poor concentration, confusion, anxiety, depression, apathy, passivity and often slow
speech. Some marijuana smokers also suffer from anxiety disorders. The most common among
users is social anxiety disorder. Where the user is nervous around large groups of people. Some
only can function on one to one basis. Isolation of users is also common. Many people with
slight depression can go to the drug to feel better. Marijuana will do that at first then it can
intensify the depression. Doing what they have learned what helps they go back to the drug and
most likely higher doseages. Resulting in still more depression. One can see how a cycle of
using marijuana to cure the depression that can come from it can begin.
One of the biggest controversies in marijuana abuse is are the problems caused by
smoking marijuana, or is it just that people with problems are more likely to end up using
marijuana heavily? After I just gave the symptomms of the pot personality, I will address this
statement with 2 contradictory views.The clearest evidence that pot use causes the pot
personality is this, when the subject gives up the drug, the symptoms usually disappear
completely in a matter of months. The youngster returns the real problem lies in getting the
subject to give up the drug. Dr. Dean Parmelee.On the other hand, people like John Morgan
believe differently. Most people think of marijuana users as dreamers with the attention span of
a gnat and no memory worth the name WRONG the picture is emerging from psychology labs
is that there is at most a kernel of truth in this stereo type, while some studies find no evidence
of even subtle mental impairment in heavy users. And even those that do, are open to a range of
interpretations not necessarily worrying to marijuana users. After all it might just be that smart
college students tend to smoke lightly while others smoke heavily.
One last finding of many short effects is interference with the maturation process. This
mostly deals with young people. Not only does the maturing process stops continuing like it is
suppose to, it actually is known to make teens regress to preteen status. Like most information
on marijuana, it is practically impossible to give hard facts on how and why these noted
symptoms of the usage of marijuana take place. But, most findings conclude that it effects brain
functions, including emotions, but can mostly go away after about 3 months.
Marijuana has been shown to have long term effects with irreversible damage. Most
damage is due to a chronic smoker who has built a tolerance and a degree of dependency to
the drug. Effects physically and mentally are also recorded
Tolerance to a drug develops when increasing doses are necessary to obtain the initial
effect of a lower dose. Dependence may be psycholgical and/or physical. Psychological
dependence refers to a craving for a drug often leading to complusive drug use. Physical or
physiological dependence is a state whereby withdrawal of the drug leads to undesirable effects
in mood or the physical body. I will first explain the most common tolerance with THC.
Marijuana is used to experience a high and as a person continually introduces this
chemical into the body, it grows accustom to it. Hence, in order to get the same high you must
smoke more potent marijuana. Cells in the pleasure center of the brain are being damaged and
as more are damaged, more marijuana is needed. Also, the natural high is harder to achieve.
In regard to dependence and addiction there is still much controversy. Most is on the
exact definition, not about marijuana at all. Is it to need the drug and obtain it by any means?
Tolerance? Or simply any mental or physical dependence? The facts are that marijuana is
definitely mentally addictive and possibly slightly physically addictive. Marijuana releases
dopamine causing pleasure making the user most likely want to feel the same way again. One
argument W. Paton, Every day I wake up and eat Kelloggs corn flakes because I like corn
flakes. Does that mean I am addicted to corn flakes? Others believe that since it triggers
dopamine in the brain it must be addictive.
Long term damages due to marijuana are noted. Marijuana seems to have some
irreversible effects, but it is difficult to prove that marijuana was the cause. The thing holding up
most scientist is the question of marijuana physically effecting the brain. Many studies show that
it does, but most times there are too many uncontrollable factors. Monkeys are usually used and
they relate this to humans. Such as in this experiment, after having the monkey smoke marijuana
for 5 months, then letting it be clean for 3 months, then see if there is differences. Abnormalities
include (RER) chaos and synaptic vesicles. RER or rough endoplasmic reticulum makes
proteins so that the cell can function properly. RER is in neat strands in the cells interior. But, in
heavy smoking monkeys there was chaos. Synaptic vesicle activity accounts for our thinking,
feeling and doing. Heavy smoking monkeys had synaptic vesicles that were clumped together.
The vesticles were also filled with abnormal deposits of material. The conclusion was that this
could cause the symptoms of a marijuana abused brain. Those symptoms are bad short term
memory, apathy, lack of motivation and depression. Most findings do conclude after smoking
marijuana for periods of time cause them afterwords to be disconnected from social activities
and have noticeable differences in memory. But, most surveys or studies dont usually ask the
marijuana smoker to be clean for a year. This would probably prove more of the long term
effects. It is somewhat disturbing that with all of the new technology, we cannot exactly prove
that marijuana has long term effects. Short term effects have been pretty much proven.
Millions are abusing marijuana every day. In fact, 1 out of 7 high school students smoke
marijuana more than once a day. Marijuana is taken very lightly and is the most highly used
illegal drug. For this reason, society should know its short and long term effects on the brain.
Marijuana can effect these two areas emotionally or physically. Also in some cases physical
damages causes the emotional response. Although most public information on drugs are funded
by anti-drug organizations, hopefully we will still learn these true facts of marijuana in spite of
that.
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