Marijuana: No Ambition to Quit
Marijuana is not addictive, you say. Maybe it’s a gateway drug, but only if you’re a weak-willed person, you insist. It grows naturally, and so how can it be harmful? You certainly don’t experience the same kind of hangover with alcohol, and so it’s much better for you, right?
Wrong! It’s time you learned more about the effects of weed. Marijuana actually contains more than 400 chemicals, and 60 of them exist only in the marijuana plant. When someone actually lights a joint or a blunt, the chemical reaction creates an additional 1,600 chemicals. As you breathe in the smoke, these chemicals invade each and every cell of your body. Marijuana is addictive, and it is harmful, and if you find yourself smoking it each and every day—or almost—then it’s time to call a drug rehab center.
Scientists do know that THC, the ingredient in weed that produces the high, is not water soluble. That means that the body cannot rid itself of this drug through the normal waste system—going to the bathroom or sweating. THC is only soluble in fat, and so it stays trapped in the body. People who have smoked weed will test positive for up to a month, and the more body fat they have, the longer it will take to eliminate the marijuana.
Who knows how harmful these many chemicals can be to your body? Let’s start with the lungs: While there is little evidence that it causes asthma or emphysema, marijuana smoke puts you at risk for cancer the same as cigarettes.
What about the effects of weed on the heart? There are a lot of aging baby-boomer hippies out there who are still smoking weed, and it can stimulate an increase in the heart rate that mimics the effects of stress. With that comes the risk of hypertension and other circulatory issues.
Will it have any effect on your brain? Marijuana makes people feel silly and easily amused. But it also interferes with the brain’s learning and memory centers. You will notice an increasing lack of coordination, and long-term studies are showing that these effects become permanent. Doctors have also noticed what they call amotivational syndrome, which refers to weed’s ability to wear down a person’s motivation. Someone who uses weed regularly will lose interest in performing well. He stops caring about success and achievement. If you’ve been using marijuana regularly and your career is going nowhere, there’s a direct connection there for you to think about.
A lesser-known physiological effect of marijuana involves the body’s immune system. Do you find that you catch every bug that comes down the pike? If you’re smoking weed frequently, it may be that your body just can’t handle it anymore. Your ability to fight off illnesses can become compromised. Scientists are still working to confirm this evidence, but the scales are tipping convincingly in this direction. As time passes, your entire body’s health may be at risk.
There are still other effects of weed, such as the reduction of testosterone in men, including reduced seminal fluid and weird sperm swim patterns. Scientists believe this can wear off slowly, again depending on the amount of body fat present, and many weed-smoking men have fathered babies, but long-term studies have not been concluded.
Some studies have shown that people fail to feel pain when they are high, which can be dangerous since pain is the body’s warning system. And you can’t discount the behavioral impacts: Many people develop panic disorders, paranoia, mood swings, and other emotional disorders. There’s also the added danger that marijuana can be contaminated with other substances, including opium and PCP.
If you find that you just can’t stop smoking day after day, or if you’re worried about the effects of weed on someone you love, call your local rehab center and find out what kind of help is available.