Cannabis Sativa is a one-year herbaceous plant with a height of 0.5-3.5 m, short and hard hair, double sex. The leaves are long-stemmed and 3-7 pieces, the pieces are pointed and toothed edges. The flower cover is greenish in color. The fruit is in the form of hard grains, 3-5 mm in diameter, similar to eggs (sometimes flat). Its homeland is thought to be Central and Western Asia. It has been cultivated since ancient times in temperate regions to obtain fiber, seeds, or drugs. It is claimed that cannabis, which is claimed to be very useful, actually has many harms and therefore it should be completely illegal.
Cannabis contains a component called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC destroys nerve cells. It has been determined that in many people who suffer from cannabis damages, especially in long-term use, nerve cells are damaged by the effect of THC. If it is injected into the body by inhalation as a cigarette, its effect starts in 15-20 minutes and lasts 2.5-3 hours. When taken orally (as food or liquid in the mouth), the potency decreases by 3/1, but the duration of action can last 10-12 hours. Cannabis suppresses the entry and collection of instant information into the hippocampus. Thus, the system that enables learning, memory, and instant information to be integrated with emotion/motivation is affected. As a result, there is a deterioration in previously learned behaviors.
Effects such as Panic attacks, Reduction in eye pressure, Flash-back (past hallucinations), Anxiety, Paranoia, Restlessness, Euphoria, Relaxation, Blackening of the eyes, Balance disorder, Dizziness, Feeling of swimming in the water, Decrease in salivation (salivation gland secretion), Blood pressure increase, Appetite, and thirst, Analgesia, Illusion, Psychotic excitation, and Depression can be seen after cannabis use. After long-term cannabis use, the harms of cannabis increase towards the lung. These are generally similar to cigarette addicts. In addition to chronic cough, sputum, chronic bronchitis; It may trigger-increase lung cancer. The harm of marijuana to the lungs is not limited to these. Apart from the THC effect, the amount of CO (carbon dioxide) in cannabis is on average 3-4 times that of smoking. In addition, considering that cannabis smokers generally keep the smoke they smoke in their lungs longer than smokers, the damage of cannabis to the lungs is much higher than that of smoking.
Marijuana’s damage to the cardiovascular system begins with an increase in heart rate, increase in blood pressure, and acceleration of blood flow. These symptoms are more pronounced when used in combination with a substance such as cocaine. When the harms of cannabis are examined, we can see that these damages are more than their benefits. It is observed that the brain does not work very well during the first 24 hours of marijuana use. The reason this; It is seen that cannabis use causes damage to the points such as memory, learning, and attention in the person and causes various problems at these points. When the use of cannabis lasts for a long time, these situations seriously affect the life of the person in general. Because when cannabis is used for a long time, it causes the brain to no longer work as before. It is observed that people with schizophrenia and similar mental disorders tend to use cannabis more.
People who use cannabis have serious mental illnesses as well as various negative effects on the body. Although there is great evidence about the harms of cannabis and research continues at this point, it is seen that it can cause testicular cancer. However, it has not been observed to cause diseases such as head, lung, and throat cancer until today. However, there are no major studies in this area. Sputum caused by marijuana is one of the most disturbing issues at this point. The damages of cannabis are as follows:
- Cannabis is good for some people with schizophrenia, and it can also cause schizophrenia in individuals.
- It appears that disorders such as bipolar disorder increase. It also triggers bipolarity.
- It can cause the mood of people to change in the same way, and it can lead to the emergence of ideas such as suicide attempts.
- It can cause situations such as too much sputum formation.
- When used, it creates the effect of changing the perception. The change of perception may occur as well as cause the risk of accident and error.
- Cannabis use also opens the door to other substance addictions. In other words, it lowers the resistance of people to addiction.
There are some instantaneous discomfort and changes in the use of cannabis. When we look at the harms of instant cannabis use, we can see that situations such as paranoia, anxiety, restlessness, and excessive relaxation can occur. In addition to this, the feeling of swimming in the water creates a feeling of feeling dizzier. In addition, it can lead to increased blood pressure, thirst, appetite, depression, panic attack attacks, and past hallucinations.
One of the most damaging points of marijuana is brain functions. People who use cannabis are suppressed to enter information instantaneously and to compile it in the brain. Therefore, we can say that it causes the system to be affected, especially where memory, learning, and instant information are integrated. Therefore, we can see that there are impairments in behaviors and thoughts that have already been learned. It would not be wrong to list the effects seen on the brains of people who use cannabis as follows;
- Increasing dopamine secretion in the brain,
- Hallucinations and signs of paranoia,
- The onset of depression in the person,
- A late response to actions,
- All possible memory problems.
It is generally claimed among the public that cannabis users do not want to use other drugs. But we can say that this kind of thinking is completely wrong. Because cannabis is often referred to as the initial level of use of other drugs. At this point, while talking about the benefits and harms of cannabis, it is an example to be seen for the harms of cannabis users that they want to use other substances over time.
Although it is not clear whether the use of cannabis physically causes addiction, it is seen that its use causes addiction, especially psychologically. At this point, there is no clear result in the treatment of cannabis use. Psychological treatment methods are mainly used to eliminate addiction. However, the most important point of getting results from psychological treatments is that the person really wants to quit marijuana.
The Harms of Using Cannabis
Although the toxicity of cannabis is lower, the user does not die because of the direct and immediate effects of cannabis after recreational or medical use. It cannot be said that cannabis is a completely harmless substance. Smoking any drugs is harmful to health, and cannabis is no exception. Cannabis smoke actually contains carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that are denser than tobacco smoke. Cannabis smokers generally inhale the smoke for longer periods of time compared to smokers. Cannabis smokers ‘lungs are filled with 4 times more tar than smokers’ lungs. Mixing hemp and tobacco can cause worse effects. If you smoke a lot of marijuana cigarettes (more than 10 per day), you are at significant risk of developing lung diseases.
Recent studies reveal that pre-cancerous abnormalities are most common among people who smoke cannabis and tobacco together. Another important factor is that cannabis users stop using cannabis by the time they reach 30. Long-term studies on smoking show that people who quit smoking before the age of 35 have a lower risk of developing lung cancer. The same is true for cannabis. Marijuana smokers can also get other lung diseases. Like people who smoke, cannabis users may experience health problems such as a chronic cough and an increase in sputum production. Regular use of marijuana increases the risk of developing chest diseases and lung infections. These respiratory ailments could mean that the cannabis user may need more work time off from the smoker.
Lighting a cigarette and taking a breath from it immediately affects the user’s heart. Using this drug causes the user’s heart rate to increase by 20% -100% more. It takes up to 3 hours for the heart rate to increase. The more rapid the heartbeats get tired of the heart of the cannabis user. As the heartbeat increases, the user’s heart rhythm may become irregular. The risk of having a heart attack is greater in the first hour after using marijuana. Older people or those with heart disease are especially likely to have a myocardial infarction (heart attack). Marijuana use can be continued as the risk of heart attack is specific to middle-aged people who are overweight or who do not take good care of themselves, but the truth is not at all. Heart attacks can also occur in people who do not have heart conditions. Using marijuana can increase a person’s risk of having a heart attack, regardless of whether a person has heart disease.
The cognitive abilities of some people who regularly use cannabis may be impaired. Verbal and numerical skills as well as reading comprehension skills of marijuana users weaken. Students who take drugs before entering the classroom will not be able to follow the lectures taught. It will be difficult for people who use cannabis to perform tasks that require a high level of concentration. Coordination weakens, driving becomes difficult. In regular use, the motivation of the person decreases. They are likely to be late for school and not go to school or work. The consequences of absenteeism could be disciplinary action or dismissal. The only consequence of using cannabis is not that users have high turnover rates, but marijuana users also lead to accidents.
Common effects seen in first-time drug users or early drug users are anxiety, panic, paranoia, the feeling that disaster is approaching, but these effects disappear after a few hours. Having a reassuring and supportive environment also helps. There are anecdotes of long-standing marijuana users who do not enjoy the anxiety attacks and paranoia of cannabis. A recent study states that 10% to 5% of cannabis users have paranoid and mixed feelings of cannabis use. More than 27% of users experience anxiety, one of the regular or frequent effects of cannabis. About 30% of users state that they want to quit marijuana altogether because of their negative experiences.
There is general consensus that if the regular cannabis user has schizophrenia, the course of the illness will worsen due to drugs, but there is no evidence that cannabis use will reveal the psychotic illness lurking somewhere. They may experience prolonged and dangerous toxic psychosis, including false mental delusions and hallucinations, and may be diagnosed with schizophrenia due to these symptoms. In some cases, the person with mental health problems will turn marijuana into a means of treating themselves. Instead of effectively treating the underlying causes, marijuana use will only serve to mask symptoms. Even if the user consults a healthcare professional for treatment, it is not easy to provide effective treatment of drug use.
If you have mental health problems, excessive use of any drugs can make your problems worse. There are places that offer assistance services for people who want to quit marijuana or have difficulty quitting on their own. Users are first decontaminated, then rehabilitated by trained professionals who are experts in the subject and can develop appropriate solutions.
Cannabis Addiction: The Reason Why It Should Be Illegal
Cannabis, known to be grown and used throughout history, is one of the most widely used substances. It is produced from Cannabis sativa, the cannabis plant used in the Far East for more than 4000 years. The most effective form is found in the dry, brown-black resin part of the poppy plant. Its use is by crumbling after being cut and dried, wrapped in a cigarette and smoking. Another way of use is to inhale the steam with the method called bucket or bong. There are also uses such as mixing into a cake or drinking as a tea. Terms such as marijuana, tea, weed, Mary Jane are used for cannabis. Names such as hemp, bhang, ganja, dagga, and sinsemilla are used to express its hardness.
When cannabis is used in cigarettes, its effect is seen within a few minutes; The effect of cannabis, which has the highest effect in 30 minutes, ends after 2-4 hours. Some of the mobility and mental effects can last up to 12 hours. Cannabis is consumed orally by putting it in food other than cigarettes. When the consumption of cannabis is at stake with the inhalation of smoke, more cannabis use occurs than the amount taken orally. The effects of cannabis vary depending on the potency of cannabis, the method of use, the method of drinking, the place of use, the last experience and expectations of the users and the biological predispositions of the individuals. The use of alcohol or other substances taken with cannabis while consuming cannabis also affects the effect of cannabis.
Marijuana use causes change in perception, short-term euphoria and relaxation, exaggeration in sensory experiences, and deterioration in time perception. After use, there is an increase in activities such as watching movies or listening to music and eating too much. Marijuana is a gateway to other substances. Studies show that marijuana use increases a person’s potential to become addicted to substances as well as to abuse other substances. Dry mouth, hunger, redness in the eyes, increased blood pressure and palpitations are the most common side effects associated with using cannabis. In continuous use, decrease in testosterone level and sperm amount and decrease in fertility in women are among the side effects.
While some individuals experience reactions such as anxiety, increased feeling of fear, panic attack; some individuals slow down. It also causes mental and physical disorders such as restlessness, difficulty sleeping, decreased appetite, weight loss, impatience. It is observed that individuals using cannabis laugh unnecessarily when they are under the influence of cannabis, or they are afraid and in a state of panic. Problems with balance, redness in the eyes, memory weakness, and weakening of reactions are also observed.
After the effect of cannabis wears off, the person experiences fatigue, sleepiness and anxiety. Depending on the use of cannabis; disturbances in feelings and thoughts are particularly common side effects. There are withdrawal symptoms such as hypersensitivity, irritability, irritability, restlessness, decreased appetite, gastrointestinal disorders, fever, nausea, tremors, insomnia, and loss of sense of direction. Individuals with long and long marijuana use have hallucinations, confusion, and emotional disturbances that occur suddenly and last for a few days. Cannabis also appears to reduce the volume of the brain and cause brain damage.
The Harm That Cannabis Can Cause if It Is Not Made Illegal
The main active drug substance in Cannabis is a substance called THC, which causes a person to have psychotic experiences. It is important to know the name of this substance because there has been a huge increase in this main ingredient in cannabis in recent years. Therefore, the harmful effect it gives to young minds increases. With its widespread use of marijuana or colloquialism, the herb is usually wrapped in a cigarette. Fainted, it has a sharp smell of grass, not like a cigarette. It is also used by inhaling its steam with a method called bucket or bong. It is also common to consume cakes, candy, lollipops, or other foods. Cannabis, which has been increasing in use among young people in recent years, has a lot of harm, especially when it is started to be used in youth.
The years of adolescence are the years when growth is fastest, when the person is in research to form his or her self, wants to try different things while in this research, takes risks, and the need to explore. Research on the brain shows that the development of the human brain does not stop suddenly at the age of 18, it continues to develop. As technologies that enable brain research to develop, our brain becomes an adult brain; It is known that the development of the frontal region of our brain, which performs tasks such as making decisions, reasoning, and organizing tasks, continues until the mid-20s, and in addition to this, it is in the mid-20s that hormones become in order.
Therefore, this can lead to risky behaviors such as exploration, curiosity, desire to experiment, and using marijuana that can cause permanent harm. At this age, the thought of “nothing will happen to me” is quite common. For this reason, it is very important that we talk to our young people frequently and convey scientific findings of cannabis to them. As I just said, teen brains continue to develop actively until around the age of 26. Cannabis used in this period harms the developing brain of the young person due to the direct effect of the additive it contains on the brain. Here are the harms of cannabis:
- Brain MRI studies show that teenagers who use cannabis have permanent damage to the structure of the brain.
- Difficulties in thinking and problem-solving.
- There are serious impairments in memory functions such as recall and retention.
- Learning problems are observed, they complain that they cannot learn as easily as they used to.
- Coordination impairments occur.
- They have difficulty maintaining attention.
- Some studies have found a decrease in IQ scores of young people who use cannabis for a long time.
- It can have psychological consequences such as panic attacks and confusion, and these psychological problems can sometimes be permanent after long use.
- With the effect of the substance in cannabis, it causes the heartbeat to beat much more than normal. Therefore, people who use it frequently have a higher risk of heart and circulatory disorders, rhythm disorders, and heart attacks.
- Testicular cancer, a decrease in sperm count, and erection problems are more common in men who use cannabis than those who do not.
- It is observed that young people using cannabis have lower grades, fail classes, or are expelled from school.
- It causes various psychological problems such as depression or anxiety disorder. Studies show that there is a relationship between cannabis used in youth and depression in later life.
- It increases the risk of similar disorders in young people with disorders such as psychosis and schizophrenia in their families.
- Young people who spend a lot of time at home and indoors begin to have problems with their physical health.
- When general life satisfaction is investigated, they usually give more negative feedback.
- Compared to their peers who do not smoke cannabis, their academic and work success is low, which negatively affects their psychology.
- It causes accidents as it negatively affects skills such as coordination and concentration required in driving.
- Studies say that 1 in 6 young people who use cannabis are addicted. In other words, the idea that “cannabis is not addictive” is not true and young people who develop addictions cannot quit even if they try to quit. Due to marijuana use, they cannot fulfill their duties and cannot participate in activities with family and friends.
- It is known that there may be a stepping stone to more dangerous drugs such as cocaine and heroin, which can have fatal consequences.
- As it weakens decisionmaking mechanisms, it can lead to alcohol use or other risky behaviors.
Negative Impact of Cannabis Use on Intelligence: Does Cannabis Make You Stupid?
Many changes have been witnessed throughout human history. Consider, for example, how the normal war was seen in a period? How desperate is it in the face of many diseases? Today, relatively, peace prevails in the world. We now have the drugs and technology that can fight disease. So much so that the viruses that killed millions of people in the past are not even on earth today. We are developing and becoming conscious of both technologically and educationally. Wheat, which is indispensable on the tables, is a subject of discussion today regarding its health hazards. Anti-vaccines around the world are standing against science. While the immune system of a generation has been suppressed with antibiotics, today there are serious restrictions in the use of antibiotics. Cannabis is also a topic of debate that has been positioned differently throughout human history with its benefits and harms. In order to put an end to these discussions, we have compiled the results of some researches from past to present for you.
You must have heard the thesis that using marijuana makes people stupid. Especially those who grew up in the 80s and 90s know well, the message of many anti-drug NGOs was in this direction. This argument was updated with a study conducted by Duke University in 2012 as “Cannabis used in adolescence and youth causes a serious decrease in IQ”. Another study, whose methods have been criticized by many researchers since then, is a follow-up study of the research, revealing that the original research did not take into account a number of important factors that could affect cognitive development, such as smoking and alcohol use, mental illness, and socioeconomic status.
Two new reports recently published examine the relationship between marijuana use and intelligence from two different perspectives: one examines the life curves of 2,235 British teenagers aged 8 to 16, and the other examines the differences between identical twin siblings, one of them using cannabis and the other not. Despite being conducted using different methods, both studies reach the same conclusion; There is no evidence that cannabis use at a young age leads to any decline in intelligence. Another study argued that the use of cannabis alone during adolescence does not cause mental retardation or any decrease in school performance and that it should be evaluated together with factors such as maternal health, mental health, and the use of other substances, while certain rates of cannabis used at young ages cause any cognitive loss in young people.
The researchers who conducted this study emphasize in particular that the results they found do not completely invalidate the findings in the article presented by Duke University in 2012. Because while previous research has focused on long-term and sustained heavy use of cannabis, the new study only examines low to moderate cannabis use. “While marijuana addiction and long-term cannabis use have a negative impact on IQ, marijuana use alone does not seem to have an effect on the intelligence levels of young people,” the researchers said. Research on American twins is completely contrary to the findings of Duke University. There is no cognitive difference between identical twins, one using cannabis and the other not. The results of such comparisons and analyzes on identical twins are considered to be very important since the genetic structures of the twin siblings and the home environments where their development period passes are the same.
Of course, none of this means that you can use as much cannabis as you want. There are a number of negative physical and mental health problems associated with marijuana use, particularly high amounts of cannabis use. Some studies even suggest that heavy marijuana use may increase the risk of psychosis or suicide. These risks are even greater for those who start using marijuana at an early age. Those who use cannabis intensively or who start using cannabis at an early age are also at high risk of becoming addicted to drugs. Marijuana is a type of drug after all. Just like alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine, cannabis has both risks and benefits depending on its use. However, exaggerating neither these risks nor these benefits, unfortunately, does not help anyone create smarter policies.
Withdrawal Symptoms Resulting From Cannabis Use
The rhetoric that cannabis is harmless and the misperception created as a result is frequently encountered today. Unfortunately, this perception can cause cannabis to be the preferred substance in the process of starting substance use. Cannabis, which is becoming more and more common, is an addictive and highly harmful substance like all other substances. Especially in adolescents, cannabis use can be encountered due to situations such as curiosity, wannabe, excitement seeking, problems in family relationships, and nervousness. At the same time, the development of technology and the fact that we have access to a lot of information on the internet increase the awareness and accessibility of cannabis day by day.
Another important issue to be known about cannabis is that, as in all addictions, cannabis addiction can bring some withdrawal symptoms with it. If the cannabis addict does not use the substance to which he/she has been dependent for a certain period of time, we can see symptoms such as:
- Sleep problems (Continuous sleepiness, disruption of sleep patterns)
- Inability to relax
- Anger Management Problems
- Demotivation Syndrome (Laziness)
- Memory impairments
- Problems with focus
- Skepticism (Paranoia)
- The tendency to act without thinking of the end
These symptoms may not be seen together. Withdrawal symptoms are expected to appear within 6 weeks after you stop using cannabis, and this time can vary from person to person. We can also see many of these withdrawal symptoms while the person is using the substance regularly.
While some users see these withdrawal symptoms after a few hours of cannabis use, in others we can see them days later. These withdrawal symptoms are, like some other substances, tremors, diarrhea, pains, etc. We may underestimate these symptoms or not notice them because they are not as severe. However, these should be taken as seriously as the deprivation caused by other substances. When such situations are observed, the person should be intervened. Substance use is addictive regardless of the substance used. Users who see these symptoms have a high risk of becoming addicted. What we need to do is not to take cannabis use lightly and to take precautions against possible future consequences.
Medical support is recommended if any of the withdrawal symptoms mentioned above are seen. In such cases, it is necessary to consult a doctor. Regular medication use on the doctor’s recommendation to purify the body from deprivation helps the person to get rid of these symptoms more quickly and easily. The treatment of addiction is a whole. Work should be done on not only withdrawal symptoms, but also on preventing reuse, and also on regaining the life order of the person, such as social support and recreation. Although medical support plays an important role in the healing process, psychological support should also be provided to the person.
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