Marijuana

Medicinal and recreational uses of marijuana

What is Marijuana?

Marijuana (cannabis) is a green, brown, or gray mixture of dried, shredded foliage, stems, seeds, and flowers of the hemp plant. It is use for psychoactive purposes, medicine, as well as for religious and spiritual purposes. There are three stronger types of marijuana: sinsemilla, hash (resinous) and hash oil (sticky black liquid).

It is the most abused drug in the US, according to research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Many U.S. states have now legalized marijuana for medical and/or recreational use. However, under federal law, it is still illegal to possess marijuana (cannabis) within the US, except in approved research settings.

How Does Marijuana Work?

There is a psychoactive substance in weeds, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Which is find in high concentrations in dried flowers, also call buds. Upon inhalation of cannabis smoke. THC is rapidly absorb into the bloodstream and travels to the brain as well as other organs throughout the body. A compound in weed called THC acts on specific receptors in the brain, called cannabinoid receptors, leading to a chain of events that leads to euphoria, or a “high,” causing users to experience. There may be feelings of relaxation, euphoria, and enhanced sensory perception. With high levels of THC in those who do not wish to suffer the consequences, some may feel anxious, paranoid, or experience a scare. Especially within the hippocampus, cerebellum, basal ganglia and cerebral mantle, cannabinoid receptors are concentrate. These areas affect memory, concentration, pleasure, coordination, sensory presentation and time perception.

It’s strength is determined by the amount of THC it contains, so the effects on the user are determined by the amount of THC. Different strains contain varying levels of THC. According to Live Science, marijuana’s THC content has increased since the 1970s, when it contained 10% THC. In 2015, American Chemical Society researchers found THC levels around 30%. Besides THC and CBD, it contains many other chemicals which can negatively impact health. It is reporte that marijuana contains over 400 different chemicals, including cannabidiol and carophyllene.

How is Marijuana Used?

As a cigarette, it is also call a joint or a nail. It’s also smoke in pipes, bongs, and Blunts. Which are cigars refille with marijuana, often along with another substance, like crack. Blunts are rolle in tobacco leaves which are use to wrap cigars, therefore combining it’s active ingredients with nicotine and other harmful chemicals. It is sometimes mixed with food or use to brew tea. There are now several states that now permit the sale of marijuana for recreational use. Marketing edibles, such as cookies, brownies, and chocolates, is becoming more popular among consumers who wouldn’t smoke the merchandise. The devices concentrate the THC in marijuana into a reservoir, and the person then inhales the vapor, rather than the smoke. Some vaporizers use a liquid marijuana extract that’s extremely high in THC, being dangerous to novice users and leading to ER visits.

Approved and Investigational Products

Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance in the US under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1990. This means that there is no approved medical use and a high potential for abuse. Cannabis’ availability for clinical research studies may be restricted by this federal definition, which is very controversial. However, marijuana has been legalized in many states for medical and recreational purposes. Synthetic cannabinoids (THC) are also available as prescription medicines. FDA approved the pharmaceutical form of THC,dronabinol, and the artificial cannabinoid, nabilone, to treat certain conditions.

Marinol, generics (dronabinol capsules) – Classified as Schedule III

Syndros (dronabinol liquid) – Classified as Schedule II

Cesamet (nabilone capsules) – Classified as Schedule II

In a way, Syndrome could be a liquid version of dronabinol. Patients receiving anti-cancer medicine (chemotherapy) may benefit from taking either dronabinol or nabilone to reduce nausea and vomiting, particularly when other treatments failed. In addition, Dronabinol (Marinol and Syndros) is approve for treating anorexia (lack of appetite)  related to weight loss in patients with AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).

Sativex (nabiximols)

While the US does not currently approve the use of Sativex (nabiximols), it is available in dozens of nations outside the US, including Canada, the UK, Spain, Germany, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Sweden, and New Zealand. Sativex, an oral sublingual spray, is approve for treatment of MS (MS) spasticity. As well as  chronic cancer pain in some countries. As a spray formulation, Sativex contains standardized extracts of THC and cannabidiol. In studies (Lakhan), It is find that both THC and cannabidiol (CBD) provide benefits in the treatment of MS (MS) spasticity (muscle stiffness). In 2015, GW Pharmaceuticals and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals announced results from three Phase 3 trials for Sativex. A drug being develope to treat pain acquired from advanced cancer patients who experience inadequate analgesia during optimized chronic opioid therapy. According to the study results, Sativex did not achieve the first endpoint of demonstrating statistically significant pain relief comparisons with placebo.

Epidiolex

In June 2018, Epidiolex (cannabidiol), also called CBD, could be approved as a cannabinoid drug. These drugs treat patients over one year with seizures related to the  Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), Dravet syndrome or tuberous sclerosis complex. CBD is the first drug on the market which is FDA-approved. The oral solution is available.The most common side effects of Epidiolex were sleepiness, diarrhea, sedation and lethargy, as well as liver damage and decreased appetite. By September 2018, the DEA rescheduled the drug from Schedule I to Schedule V. However, the DEA nullified the controlled drug status of Epidiolex in April 2020.

Extent of Marijuana Use

In the United States, It is by far one of the most frequently abuse or use substances. Unfortunately, the numbers are highest among young people. Monitoring the long-term Survey data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) revealed that 35.7% of 12th graders had used marijuana in the past year. The rate of eighth graders is 11.8% compare to 28.8% of 10th graders. According to a study published in 2019, vaping marijuana among teens is on the rise. However, the survey continues to monitor declines in tobacco use, alcohol, and prescription opioid misuse. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, marijuana is the most commonly use illicit drug in the US.

According to the latest survey, more than 43 million US adults aged 12 and older reported using marijuana last year. Similarly, the survey find that marijuana use among adolescents from 12 to 17 years of age was  over 3 million in 2018. Overall, marijuana use was highest amongst the age bracket 18 to 25 years aged at 34%.

The short-term effects of marijuana or cannabinoid use include:

  • increased pulse 
  • low vital sign , postural hypotension 
  • muscle relaxation
  • slowed digestion
  • dizziness
  • distorted perception (sights, sounds, time, touch)
  • difficulty in thinking, memory, and problem solving
  • loss of coordination and motor skills
  • agitation, anxiety, confusion, panic, paranoia
  • increased appetite
  • dry mouth, dry eyes
As a result, reaction times may be impaired while driving. Driving while THC-impaired results in slower reactions, diminished judgment, and problems responding to signals and sounds. Heller reports that paranoia, panic attacks, and psychosis can happen acutely and are more common among psychiatric patients. In the case of chronic users, these effects can last for days. Or weeks after the acute effects have worn off, according to the NIDA. On the road, marijuana could also be cut (or substituted) with substances that will cause  unknown, dangerous side effects. Various organs are able to absorb a large amount of THC from marijuana. Generally, traces  of THC can be detect in urine several days after smoking a cigarette. Cannabis remains detectable for weeks after a chronic heavy user ceases to use it.

Cannabis abuse can lead to dependence in some people. According to a study , “many physicians and the general public believe marijuana is non-addictive.” However, its effects are often psychological. So not everyone becomes addicted. Withdrawal symptoms can occur upon abrupt cessation of the drug, including:

  • anxiety
  • agitation
  • tremulousness
  • elevation of important signs
  • insomnia
  • irritability
Marijuana may also affect psychological state. According to research, using increases the risk of developing psychosis (a disorder in which there is no contact with reality). Which consists of notions that are not true (delusions) or seeing and hearing unreal things (hallucinations). According to NIDA, marijuana use is often higher in people with symptoms of depression or anxiety. As of this writing, there have not been any reports of deaths due to THC overdose.

Marijuana Effects on the guts

After consuming marijuana, the gut rate increases drastically and should remain elevated for a period of three hours. In addition to crazy marijuana, other drugs may enhance this effect. In a study (Mittleman), it was suggested that attacks may increase up to fourfold within an hour after marijuana use. An increase in pulse rate and altered heart rhythms may also explain the effect. In addition, those with specific risk factors are at greater risk for having a heart attack. Such as those who have abnormal heart rhythms. Harvard Health reports that the risk of a heart attack increases several times within an hour after smoking marijuana. Which could be a red flag for anyone with a history of heart disease. Also the risk of stroke could increase.

Marijuana Effects on the Lungs

There is considerable evidence that marijuana smoke contains carcinogens and causes lung irritation. As a result of inhaling deeper and holding their breath longer. Marijuana users are more exposed to carcinogenic smoke than tobacco smokers. As a result of smoking marijuana, the bronchial passage enlarges. Marijuana smoke  contains many of the same carcinogens as cigarettes (Mehmedic), usually in greater amounts. It consists of nitrosamines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons,  vinyl chlorides, and phenol (Martinasek). Marijuana smokers often experience similar respiratory problems to cigarette  smokers. In addition to daily coughs and phlegm. These individuals might experience symptoms of bronchitis, shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing, and more frequent chest colds. The NIDA reports that they are also at greater risk of getting lung infections like pneumonia.
A systematic review of the respiratory effects of marijuana (Martinasek) has revealed that inhaltional marijuana could cause cancer. As well as spontaneous pneumothorax, emphysema, and COPD. The review observed that eight of the 12 studies indicated that using cannabis or experiencing cancer increases the risk.

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