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Cannabis is a broad term. It describes the different products that come from the Cannabis Sativa plant, including marijuana and cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids are a group of active chemical compounds found in cannabis, such
Marijuana, which can also be called weed, pot, dope or cannabis, is the dried flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. It contains mind-altering (e.g. psychoactive) compounds like tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, as well as other active compounds like cannabidiol, or CBD, that are not mind-altering.
There are many ways of using marijuana, and each one affects users differently. Marijuana can be rolled up and smoked like a cigarette (a joint) or a cigar (a blunt). Marijuana can also be smoked in a pipe. Sometimes people mix it in food and eat it or brew it as a tea (edibles). Smoking oils, concentrates, and extracts from the marijuana plant are on the rise. People who use this practice call it “dabbing.”
Like any other drug, marijuana’s effects on a person depends on a number of factors, including the person’s previous experience with the drug or other drugs, biology (e.g., genes), gender, how the drug is taken, and how strong it is.
The marijuana plant has chemicals that may help symptoms for some health problems. More and more states are making it legal to use the plant as medicine for certain conditions. But there isn’t enough research to show that the whole plant works to treat or cure these conditions. Also, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not recognized or approved the marijuana plant as medicine.
Because marijuana is often smoked, it can damage your lungs and cardiovascular system (e.g., heart and blood vessels). These and other damaging effects on the brain and body could make marijuana more harmful than helpful as medicine. Another problem with marijuana as a medicine is that the ingredients aren’t exactly the same from plant to plant. There’s no way to know what kind and how much of a chemical you’re getting.
Two medicines have been made as pills from a chemical that’s like THC, one of the chemicals found in the marijuana plant that makes people feel “high”. These two medicines can treat nausea if you have cancer and make you hungry if you have AIDS and don’t feel like eating. But the chemical used to make these medicines affects the brain also, so it can do things to your body other than just working as medicine.
Another marijuana chemical that scientists are studying, called cannabidiol (CBD), doesn’t make you high because it acts on different parts of the nervous system than THC. Scientists think this chemical might help children who have a lot of seizures (when your body starts twitching and jerking uncontrollably) that can’t be controlled with other medicines. Some studies have started to see whether it can help.
Yes, about 1 in 10 marijuana users will become addicted. For people who begin using younger than 18, that number rises to 1 in 6.
Some of the signs that someone might be addicted to marijuana include:
— Trying but failing to quit using marijuana
— Giving up important activities with friends and family in favor of using marijuana
— Using marijuana even when it
Compared to marijuana users who are not addicted, people who are addicted to marijuana are at a higher risk of negative consequences of using the drug, such as problems with attention, memory, and learning.
A fatal overdose is unlikely, but that doesn’t mean marijuana is harmless. The signs of using too much marijuana are similar to the typical effects of using marijuana but more severe. These signs may include extreme confusion, anxiety, paranoia, panic, fast heart rate, delusions or hallucinations, increase blood pressure, and severe nausea or vomiting. In some cases, these reactions can lead to unintentional injury such as a motor vehicle crash, fall, or poisoning.
Using alcohol and marijuana at the same time is likely to result in greater impairment than when using either one alone. Using marijuana and tobacco at the same time may also lead to increased exposure to harmful chemicals, causing greater risks to the lungs, and the cardiovascular system.
Also, be aware that marijuana may change how prescription drugs work. Always talk with your doctor about any medications you are taking or thinking about taking and possible side effects when mixed with other things like marijuana.
We do not yet know. Chemicals from marijuana can be passed to your baby through breast milk. THC is stored in fat and is slowly released over time, meaning that your baby could still be exposed even after you stop using marijuana. However, data on the effects of marijuana exposure to the infant or baby through breastfeeding are limited and conflicting. To limit potential risk to the infant, breastfeeding mothers should reduct or avoid marijuana use.
Secondhand marijuana smoke contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects, and many of the same toxic chemicals in smoked tobacco.
Smoked marijuana has many of the same cancer-causing substances as smoked tobacco, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions around secondhand marijuana smoke exposure and its impact on chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and lung diseases.
Because marijuana contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), there are health risks associated with using marijuana regardless of how it is used. Some of these negative effects include having difficulty thinking and problem-solving, having problems with memory, learning and maintaining attention, and demonstrating impaired coordination. Additionally, frequent use can lead to becoming addicted to marijuana. However, some risks may differ by the way it is used.
Smoke from marijuana contains many of the same toxins, irritants, and carcinogens as tobacco smoke. Smoking marijuana can lead to a greater risk of bronchitis, cough, and phlegm production. Whereas, edibles, which take longer to digest, take longer to produce an effect. Therefore, people may consume more to feel the effects faster. This may lead to people consuming very high doses and result in negative effects like anxiety, paranoia and, in rare cases, an extreme psychotic reaction (e.g., delusions, hallucinations, talking incoherently, and agitation).
The fact that it’s legal does not mean that it is safe. Using marijuana at an early age can lead to negative health consequences.
— Heavy marijuana use (daily or near-daily) can do damage to memory, learning, and attention, which can last a week or more after the last time someone used.
— Using marijuana during pregnancy or while breastfeeding may harm the baby, just like alcohol or tobacco.
— Marijuana use has been linked to anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia, but scientists don’t yet know whether it directly causes these diseases.
— Smoking any product, including marijuana, can damage your lungs and cardiovascular system.
An Indica strain is generally associated with a sense of deep body relaxation. Sativa strains tend to provide a more energizing experience. Scientifically (and legally), there is no difference between Indica and Sativa cannabis plants. And all cannabis plants are considered to be Cannabis Sativa L.
Cannabidiol — CBD — is a cannabis compound that has significant medical benefits, but does not make people feel “stoned” and can actually counteract the psychoactivity of THC. By “CBD-dominant,” we mean strains or products that are CBD-rich but have very little THC content.
Research shows that CBD benefits include acting as an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, antiemetic, anxiolytic and antipsychotic agent, and is, therefore, a potential medicine for the treatment of neuroinflammation, epilepsy, oxidative injury, vomiting and nausea, anxiety and schizophrenia.
CBD oil does show a lot of potential for pain relief. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it can be used to help manage chronic pain in many cases. CBD oil is especially promising due to its lack of intoxicating effects and a possible lower potential for side effects than many other pain medications.
CBD may increase overall sleep amounts, and improve insomnia, according to research. CBD has been shown to reduce insomnia in people who suffer from chronic pain. CBD may help improve REM sleep abnormalities in people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Studies of man-made forms of the chemicals found in the marijuana plant can be helpful in treating nausea and vomited from cancer chemotherapy. Studies have found that marijuana can be helpful in treating neuropathic pain (pain caused by damaged nerves).
At this time, there is not enough evidence to recommend that patients inhale or ingest marijuana as a treatment for cancer-related symptoms or side effects of cancer therapy.
Smoked marijuana delivers THC and other cannabinoids to the body, but it also delivers harmful substances to users and those close by, including many of the same substances found in tobacco smoke, which are harmful to the lungs and cardiovascular system.
Researchers have found limited evidence of an association between current, frequent, or chronic marijuana smoking and testicular cancer (non-seminoma type).
Because marijuana plants come in different strains with different levels of active chemicals, it can make each user’s experience very hard to predict.