With the prevalence of marijuana use displayed in pop culture and on social media, it’s easy to believe that using it carries no side effects. It’s true that marijuana typically doesn’t carry the same risks as harder drugs like heroin or crack cocaine. However, that doesn’t mean the answer is “no” when asking, “Is weed a drug?” Marijuana contains varying levels of THC, the component that influences the brain and causes its effects.
How Does Weed Affect the Body?
One reason to say yes to the question, “Is weed a drug” is because it’s possible to develop a marijuana use disorder. The THC in weed produces a neurotransmitter called dopamine. When you use marijuana, the brain produces more of it, which often causes feelings of happiness and relaxation in people. Dopamine also influences the part of your brain that helps create new memories. One of the side effects of marijuana abuse is problems with your short-term memory.
Marijuana also affects the body in other ways, including:
- Feeling lethargic
- Experiencing euphoria
- Feelings of anxiousness
Long-term marijuana abuse could lead to the following issues:
- Sleep disorders
- Decreased appetite
- Feelings of restlessness
- Poor coordination
- Withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to quit
You’d want to say yes to the question, “Is weed a drug?” because of the way it makes people feel. The strength of the effects depend on how much THC you ingest. Most people feel the effects up to two hours after their last dose. Ingesting THC through food and drink causes the body to absorb it more slowly than through smoking. However, that could cause the THC effects to last up to eight hours.
Is Weed a Drug With High Risks?
There continues to be a lot of debate and controversy around the safety of using marijuana and its real effects on the general population. One form of cannabis, called hemp, used to be cultivated by early settlers. George Washington himself kept a crop of the plants at his home in Mount Vernon.
The earlier part of the 20th century saw a lot of anti-marijuana propaganda being pushed out, like the film, “Reefer Madness!” The federal government currently classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance, meaning they consider it to be a drug that brings a high risk of addiction and has little to no medicinal use.
Another concern is the increasing potency of marijuana. THC concentrations in samples taken by law enforcement averaged 15 percent, a marked increase from the 4 percent commonly found in the early 80s. One body that has expressed concern about marijuana is the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). They worry that people with mental disorders may have their symptoms exacerbated by using marijuana.
Does Using Weed Carry Health Risks?
Using marijuana contributes to a wide range of health issues. Those who consistently inhale marijuana smoke put themselves at risk for some of the same respiratory ailments tobacco smokers experience, like:
- Persistent coughing
- Constant upper respiratory infections
- Increased risk of developing a lung infection
- A damaged immune system
- Problems with fertility
- Heightened heart rate and blood pressure
- Death of brain cells and damage to the central nervous system
Persistent health problems from marijuana use could cause you to miss school or work. Using marijuana while pregnant could cause babies to be born with neurological behavior problems. Some studies have shown that the younger you are when you begin using weed, the more likely it is to affect brain development negatively.
You could also experience mental health problems due to an overuse of marijuana, such as:
- Mood swings
- Thoughts of self-harm among adolescents
- Lack of motivation
Find Help for Weed Addiction at Oceanfront Recovery
Our facility offers programs that help clients dealing with substance abuse issues.
Call Oceanfront Recovery today at 877.279.1777 if you’re ready to get help for yourself or a loved one.