Why Do People Smoke Weed?

For whatever reason, the brains of humans, indeed of most animals, are so constructed that the use of intoxicants will produce an altered state of reality. Most mammals and birds can become intoxicated, although humans are probably the only inhabitants of the planet who consistently look for ways to get high, and one of those ways involve the use of marijuana, or weed. There are a number of reasons why people start to smoke weed:

  • Peer pressure is a terrible thing for young people to experience, and teens who are eager to be accepted into a certain social group in school will often begin smoking marijuana so as not to be thought a dweeb or nerd.
  • Work, relationships, and monetary pressures can cause people to become stressed out. If you’re anxious and stressed, weed will offer a temporary relief from these pressures – it will help you to relax.
  • Some people simply enjoy the feeling of euphoria that comes with getting high, and will use marijuana in the same way others might drink alcohol.

Nearly every part of the marijuana plant is used: stem, seeds, leaves, and flowers. Because of selective breeding, today’s weed is much stronger than that which was found on the street 30 or more years ago. Marijuana can also be refined to hashish, which is a concentrated, sticky oil.

How Weed Gets You High

The usual way to ingest marijuana is by smoking a joint, a marijuana cigarette, generally hand-rolled. Sometimes a bong, water pipe, is used, and weed can also be used in food such as cookies, tea, brownies, or candy. For those who want a heavier dose of cannabis, blunts can be prepared – a blunt is a hollowed out cigar that is filled with a mixture of marijuana and tobacco, and lasts much longer than the ordinary joint. It can also be extinguished and reused at a later time. Blunts are often used when a number of people want to get high together.

When marijuana is smoked, it enters the bloodstream very quickly and then travels to the brain. The active intoxicating substance in weed is THC, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which attaches to neurotransmitters responsible for feelings of pleasure and the perception of time. Those who use weed often experience euphoria and an intensification of sounds and colors. THC is also taken up by other organs in the body, such as the liver, where residues of the substance can still be found after several weeks’ time.

The effects from weed vary according to the concentration of THC, with the highest concentration, approximately 50%, being found in hashish oil. Joints generally deliver 8% THC at the highest. The high will usually last for several hours, followed by the desire to sleep.

The Downside of Weed

It is almost universally agreed that marijuana is not as dangerous a drug as cocaine, alcohol, heroin, or prescription opioids. However, there are problems, both immediate and in the future, to habitual use of pot. The negative effects are most apparent in those who begin to use marijuana on a regular basis when still in their teens. The ordinary effects of marijuana will be intensified and altered if other substances are introduced such as cocaine, PCP, or even embalming fluid (formaldehyde). Laced joints often produce effects unlike those produced by ‘regular’ use such as hallucinations, extreme paranoia, or rage.

  • Both short term and long term memory are affected by weed. Smoking a joint will result in forgetting events that have recently occurred, but the greater risk is for young people who use marijuana as the effects may be permanent to some extent.
  • The part of the brain that helps us to learn new things, the hippocampus, is damaged by weed use, which will make it harder for pot users to acquire new knowledge.
  • The reproductive systems of both men and women can be weakened by weed use. Women may experience irregular menstrual cycles and men will have a lowered sperm count.
  • While it seems, at this point, that marijuana does not contribute to lung cancer as does tobacco, it is an irritating substance to the throat, bronchial tubes, and lungs. It makes it more likely that those who use weed will develop respiratory illnesses.
  • Our immune systems are what keep the myriad bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other pathogens from causing us harm. Marijuana does lower the efficiency of the body’s immune system, leaving those who use it somewhat at the mercy of the invading pathogens.
  • The first few minutes of cannabis intoxication cause an elevation of heart rate and blood pressure. There have been cases where this has produced a heart attack.
  • Marijuana has been shown to be both psychologically and physically addictive, and withdrawal symptoms will occur in heavy users when they decide to become drug free.

Medicinal Use of Weed

There have been found some legitimate and helpful reasons to use weed for certain medical conditions. Patients can smoke, eat or drink, or use a liquid supplement to help relieve symptoms. Depending on the person, he or she may or may not become high.

  • One of the worse side effects of cancer treatment is extreme nausea, and marijuana does provide relief from this.
  • Glaucoma is caused by increased pressure inside the eye and can lead to blindness. Weed helps to lower this pressure.
  • Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune condition of the entire gastrointestinal system as well as the joints and skin. Weed helps to alleviate pain and heal inflamed tissues in the intestines. It could also be that suppression of the immune system by weed also helps.
  • Weed can help some people who have Parkinson’s disease.

Weed is certainly not the most dangerous of drugs, and is not as addictive as most, but it also is not without dangers to mental and physical health. The cumulative effects of weed will probably make themselves most apparent as a person ages.

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