Marijuana: Effects, Medical Uses and Legalization
A systematic review of the respiratory effects of inhalational marijuana from Martinasek, et al indicates that there is a risk of lung cancer from inhalational marijuana as well as an association between inhalational marijuana and spontaneous pneumothorax, emphysema, or COPD. Recreational marijuana is lucrative. C also voted to approve recreational use of marijuana in November Studies on school performance have shown differing results:
What is Marijuana?
As reported by Hill, there are several studies that have noted cannabinoids are effective in the treatment of symptoms of multiple sclerosis, including painful spasms. THC is excreted in breast milk, according to Davies, et al. The risk of heart attack may be greater in those with specific risk factors such as patients with high blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, or other cardiac disease. You won't ever have to go through the fear of being caught with illegal drugs in your pockets. Each of these herbal products has a unique feature that will blow you off your feet. With higher THC levels in those who are not used to the effects, some people may feel anxious, paranoid, or have a panic attack.
The highest concentrations of THC are found in the dried flowers, or buds. When marijuana smoke is inhaled, THC rapidly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream and is carried to the brain and other organs throughout the body. THC from the marijuana acts on specific receptors in the brain, called cannabinoid receptors, starting off a chain of cellular reactions that finally lead to the euphoria, or "high" that users experience. Feeling of a relaxed state, euphoria, and an enhanced sensory perception may occur.
With higher THC levels in those who are not used to the effects, some people may feel anxious, paranoid, or have a panic attack. Certain areas in the brain, such as the hippocampus, the cerebellum, the basal ganglia and the cerebral cortex, have a higher concentration of cannabinoid receptors. These areas influence memory, concentration, pleasure, coordination, sensory and time perception. Marijuana's strength is correlated to the amount of THC it contains and the effects on the user depend on the strength or potency of the THC.
Different strains will contain different levels of THC. There are many other chemicals found in marijuana, many of which may adversely affect health. Marijuana may be smoked as a cigarette called a joint or a nail or in a pipe or bong.
It may be smoked in "blunts", which are cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with marijuana, often in combination with another drug, such as crack.
Some users also mix marijuana into food or use it to brew tea. In states that have now legalized sale of marijuana for recreational use, the marketing of edible products, such as cookies, brownies, and chocolates, are popular for those who prefer not to smoke the product.
Vaporizers are also popular for those who prefer not to inhale smoke. The devices concentrate the THC from the marijuana into a storage unit and the person then inhales the vapor, not the smoke. Some vaporizers use a liquid marijuana extract that can be extremely high in THC content, and can be dangerous to novice users , resulting in emergency room admissions. In the United States, the Controlled Substances Act CSA of classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance, which states it has no approved medical use and a high potential for abuse.
This Federal definition is highly controversial, and can limit marijuana's availability for clinical research studies. Prescription medicines containing synthetic cannabinoids THC are also available.
Dronabinol, a pharmaceutical form of THC, and nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid, are approved by the FDA to treat certain conditions.
Syndros is a liquid form of dronabinol. Both dronabinol and nabilone are approved to treat patients receiving anti-cancer medicine chemotherapy who have nausea and vomiting, particularly patients who do not respond to other treatments. Sativex, an oral sublingual spray, is approved for use in multiple sclerosis MS spasticity. In Israel, Sativex is approved for the indications of MS spasticity and for chronic cancer pain. Sativex is composed of standardized extracts of THC and cannabidiol and is available as an oral mucosal spray formulation.
In , GW Pharmaceuticals and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals announced results of three US Phase 3 trials for the use of Sativex for the treatment of pain in patients with advanced cancer who experience inadequate analgesia during optimized chronic opioid therapy.
According to the results, Sativex did not meet the primary endpoint of demonstrating a statistically significant difference from placebo for pain control. In the past survey year , In the same survey, past year marijuana use among adolescents aged 12 to 16 years dropped from Side effects of marijuana use will be variable from person to person, depending upon strength and amount of marijuana used and if the user is occasionally or chronically exposed to THC. Side effects can be magnified in older people.
Reaction time may be impaired while driving. NIDA research shows that drivers have slower reaction times, impaired judgment, and problems responding to signals and sounds if driving while under the influence of THC. Panic attacks, paranoia and psychosis may occur acutely and be more common in psychiatric patients, a reported by Heller.
For chronic users, the impact on memory and learning can last for days or weeks after its acute effects wear off, as noted by the NIDA.
Marijuana, if purchased on the street, may be cut or substituted with substances that can lead to unknown, dangerous side effects. THC in marijuana is strongly absorbed by fatty tissues in various organs. Generally, traces of THC can be detected by standard urine testing methods several days or more after a smoking session. In heavy chronic users, traces can sometimes be detected for weeks after they have stopped using marijuana. Long-term abuse of marijuana may lead to dependence in some people.
McKenna, et al have reported on the addicting potential of marijuana, noting that "it is an erroneous belief widely held by the general public, and among many physicians, that marijuana is not addicting. Withdrawal symptoms can occur upon abrupt cessation of the drug, including:. Marijuana also may affect mental health. Also, rates of marijuana use are often higher in people with symptoms of depression or anxiety, as reported by the NIDA. There have been no reports of THC overdose leading to death.
Shortly after smoking marijuana the heart rate increases drastically and may remain elevated for up to 3 hours. This effect may be enhanced if other drugs are taken with marijuana. One study from Mittleman, et al has suggested that the risk of heart attack may increase by up to 4. The effect may be due to the increased heart rate, as well as altered heart rhythms.
The risk of heart attack may be greater in those with specific risk factors such as patients with high blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, or other cardiac disease. Harvard Health also reports that the risk of a heart attack is several times higher in the hour after smoking marijuana than it would be normally, and this should be a red flag for anyone with a history of heart disease.
The risk of stroke may be increased, as well. After smoking marijuana, the bronchial passage relaxes and becomes enlarged. Marijuana smoke contains many of the same cancer-causing chemicals found in cigarette smoke, often in greater quantities, as reported by Mehmedic and colleagues. Both types of smoke contain cancer-causing nitrosamines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, vinyl chlorides, and phenol per research reported by Martinasek.
Studies have shown that marijuana smoke contains 50 to 70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke, and is an irritant to the lungs. Marijuana users tend to inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than tobacco smokers do, which further increases lung exposure to carcinogenic smoke. People who smoke marijuana often have the same respiratory problems as cigarette smokers.
These individuals may have daily cough and phlegm, symptoms of chronic bronchitis, shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing and more frequent chest colds.
A systematic review of the respiratory effects of inhalational marijuana from Martinasek, et al indicates that there is a risk of lung cancer from inhalational marijuana as well as an association between inhalational marijuana and spontaneous pneumothorax, emphysema, or COPD. In the review, eight of the 12 studies indicated an increased risk of lung cancer from cannabis use or cases indicating lung cancer occurrence.
These numbers could rise as more states continue to legalize marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes. Due to possible adverse effects of marijuana on the fetus, ACOG recommends that marijuana should be avoided during pregnancy.
Any drug of abuse can affect a mother's health. THC appears to cross the placenta, according to Davies et al. Human fetuses exhibit the cannabinoid receptor type 1 in the nervous system as early as 14 weeks of gestation, and animal studies suggest cannabinoid exposure may lead to abnormal brain development.
As reported by de Moraes Barro and colleagues, babies born to adolescents who used marijuana during pregnancy have shown adverse neurological behavior effects of the newborns in the first 24 to 78 hours after delivery.
Most reports do not show an association between marijuana use and preterm birth. However, as noted by ACOG, studies have suggested the use of marijuana with tobacco may increase the risk for preterm delivery. In addition, research demonstrates that babies born to mothers who used marijuana during pregnancy at least once per week or more were smaller than those born to mothers who used the drug less frequently. Studies on school performance have shown differing results: THC is excreted in breast milk, according to Davies, et al.
ACOG recommends that marijuana use be discontinued during breastfeeding. The scientific data are not strong enough to determine the risk to the nursing infant. A drug is addicting if it causes compulsive, uncontrollable drug craving, seeking, and use, even in the face of negative health and social consequences.
Research suggests that roughly 9 percent of users become addicted to marijuana, with higher rates if the user starts at a young age 17 percent and in those who use marijuana daily percent.
While not everyone who uses marijuana becomes addicted, when a user begins to seek out and take the drug compulsively, that person is said to be dependent or addicted to the drug. Some heavy users develop a tolerance to marijuana; meaning that the user needs larger amounts to get the same desired results that he or she used to get from smaller amounts, as noted by the NIDA.
Long-term users who try to quit could experience withdrawal symptoms such as sleeplessness, irritability, anxiety, decreased appetite and drug craving.
Withdrawal symptoms usually begin about a day after the person stops using marijuana, peaks in 2 to 3 days and may take about 1 to 2 weeks to subside. McKenna reports that marijuana addiction is difficult to treat in the clinic. Patients can have a lengthy withdrawal and symptoms that can continue for months after stopping marijuana use. Marijuana has been used as a therapeutic and medicinal agent for centuries, dating back to the 27th century BC. Today, it is still used for medicinal purposes, although restrictive laws surrounding its use now exist.
Medical marijuana is available in many different forms from dispensaries: Rules surrounding the use of medical marijuana vary by state. The first state in the union to legalize the medical use of marijuana was California in with Proposition States that allow medical marijuana include: It is important to recognize that these state medical and recreational marijuana laws do not change the fact that using marijuana continues to be an offense under Federal law.
Medical marijuana in the US is controlled at the state level. Per federal law, cannabis, a schedule I drug, is illegal as noted in the Controlled Substances Act, but the federal government, under the previous Obama administration, had stated they would not actively prosecute patients and caregivers complying with state medical marijuana laws. However, use of medical marijuana outside of the state laws for illegal use or trafficking would not be tolerated by state or federal government.
These rules may be changing under Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Political leaders, US government officials, health care providers and medical organizations take differing views of the benefits and risks of medical marijuana. Proponents state that marijuana has valid medical uses and further research should be pursued, while opponents list concerns about health risks, and the "gateway" effect of marijuana that can lead to more dangerous drug abuse, among other issues.
Nonetheless, legalization of medical marijuana continues to be pursued at the state level, with California being the most recent state to legalize recreation use in January Nonetheless, state and federal laws are at odds in the US, currently.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a known critic of the cannabis industry and federal oversight of marijuana legalization has now become more strict. On January 4, , the DOJ rescinded this document. Attorneys to enforce the laws enacted by Congress and to follow well-established principles when pursuing prosecutions related to marijuana activities.
Whether the feds will go after the large state-run, legalized recreational or medical marijuana industry, the over 5, mom and pop marijuana shops in the U. The patient can then obtain a medical marijuana card, or qualification, to purchase medical marijuana and associated products from dispensaries. Feel the tranquility of passionflower extract, l-theanine and niacin and let yourself be in harmony and peace with Mello Man and have mello tingling feeling all over your body.
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Side effects can be magnified in older people. ACOG recommends that marijuana use be discontinued during breastfeeding.
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