Marijuana or cannabis and its side effects

Marijuana or cannabis and its side effects

Thecannabinoids they are compounds derived from the plant calledCannabis Sativa.

Technically it is classified as a minor hallucinogen. Among the active constituents of the plant is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), responsible for almost all the harmful effects of this substance.

Thecannabis It is a plant that grows in tropical areas and is between 2 and 3 meters high. It contains a substance called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the active substance.


  • 1 Forms of cannabis presentation
  • 2 How is cannabis consumed?
  • 3 Effects of consumption
  • 4 Marijuana side effects
  • 5 Recent studies of marijuana

Forms of cannabis presentation

In distribution and consumption it can be found in several ways:

The "weed or weed"which are the dried leaves, and small stems of Cannabis Sativa. Also called maria, grifa or herb: it belongs to the flowery and tender part of the plant, dried and crushed later. The THC content is 5 to 10% .

The "hashish or hash", which is produced from the pressing of the resin of the female plant, giving rise to a piece of brown color. In this elaboration a 20% concentration of THC is achieved so its effects are worse than marijuana. Also It is called chocolate or cost: it contains between 5 and 10 times more TCH than marijuana.

The "cannabis oil or hashish oil"It produces when mixing the resin with solvents (alcohol, ketones, etc ...), as a result an oily extract is obtained and the THC content can be higher than 85%. With it you can prepare cakes and other cooked dishes.

THC is not soluble in water and therefore can only be consumed by ingestion and inhalation. The most common is the inhaled or smoking form mixed with normal tobacco, handmade cigarettes called "porros" are made. It is usually taken mixed with blond tobacco (with the black one the flavor of cannabis is not so noticeable) and wrapped in smoking paper (canuto, joint, firecracker). In some countries you smoke a pipe.

Marijuana It is a combination of crushed leaves, stems and flower buds of the Cannabis Sativa plant. Marijuana can be smoked, eaten, vaporized, made in numerous ways and even taken topically (through the skin or mucous membranes), but most people smoke it.

The intoxicating chemical of marijuana is tetrahydracannabinol or THC. According to recent research, the average THC content of consumer marijuana has increased from less than 1% in 1972, to 3-4% in the 1990s, and to almost 13% today. The increase in the potency of this product makes it difficult to determine its effects both in the short and long term.

How is cannabis consumed?

In a survey conducted in 2010 by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, up to 17.4 million people in the United States said they had used marijuana in the last month. According to this survey, marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug. About 4 in 10 Americans have used marijuana at least once in their lives.

Marijuana is usually smoked, spread on cigarette paper and rolled up in the form of a cigarette. THC is absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs. Glass tubes and water pipes are other ways of smoking weed.

Cannabis it can also be ingested through foodIt is often the preferred option for those who are using it medicinally. Apart from the popular sponge cake, edible marijuana can be added to a large number of foods, including candy, ice cream and butter. Some US states where marijuana has been legalized have issued packaging and labeling regulations.

It can also be taken in liquid form, as if it were a tea. It can be added to other drinks, including soft drinks, milk and alcohol. The cannabis oil or hashish It is a resin made of concentrated plant material. Other forms of consumption include capsules, oral sprays and topical oils.

A relatively new method of inhaling marijuana is vaporization. By heating cannabis at low temperatures, the oils and extracts of the plant are released. Vaporized marijuana contains less cannabinoids, and users who inhale it absorb less toxic compounds and carbon monoxide compared to those who smoke it.

Effects of consumption

TOshort term and in low doses it usually produces feelings of well-being and tranquility with increased appetite, verbiage, euphoria, but with ocular congestion and difficulties for complex mental processes, alterations of temporal and sensory perception. It also gives tachycardia, dry mouth, buoyancy, disinhibition, laughter, slowing of reflexes, panic and illusions.

When its effects subside, it passes into a state of drowsiness and depression.

If the dose is very high, its harmful effects increase giving a state of mental confusion, great drowsiness and perhaps panic situations. It acts as a disruptor of the CNS, altering perception and creating psychological dependence.

TOlong term the demotivation state appears with alteration in the concentration and memory capacities.

Other long-term problems are the harmful effects on the lung, superior to tobacco and can cause alterations in the male and female reproductive systems.

THC crosses the placental barrier, so its consumption poses a significant risk in pregnancy and lactation.

Subsequently, as a typical effect of drugs, the tolerance picture appears (more doses are needed to achieve the desired effects) and dependence, with the consequent withdrawal syndrome in case of abrupt withdrawal of the drug.

Theabstinence syndrome It is presented with pictures of anorexia, anxiety, insomnia, irritability and depression.

In people with previous mental problems or emotional instability all these symptoms can be aggravated and offer great mental problems.

Psychological symptoms of withdrawal: irritability and nervousness.

Associated pathologies: respiratory, cardiovascular disorders, neoplasia (mouth cancer, bronchi, lung), CNS disorders, amotivational syndrome (lack of interest in things), apathy and psychotic disorders with outbreaks of schizophrenia, hallucinations and delusions.

Psychosocial consequences: decreased performance, demotivation, alterations in memory and attention, lack of psychomotor coordination, distortions of perception (anxiety or panic crisis), risk of accidents.

Marijuana side effects

Most marijuana consumers enjoy their ability to induce a feeling of euphoria and pleasure, but unfortunately this is not without side effects.

In fact, research shows that the use of marijuana can cause a variety of short and long-term effects.

The immediate effects of marijuana use They include rapid heartbeat (tachycardia), disorientation, lack of physical coordination, often followed by depression or drowsiness. Some users may suffer panic attacks or anxiety.

But the problem does not end there. According to scientific studies, the active ingredient in cannabis, THC, remains in the body for weeks or even months.

Lung problems

Marijuana smoke contains between 50% and 70% more carcinogens Than tobacco smoke An important research study showed that a single cannabis cigar could cause more lung damage than five cigarettes smoked one after another. It has been found that habitual cannabis smokers often suffer from bronchitis, cough and wheezing.

Paranoia, psychosis and anxiety

Another mental side effect of marijuana is the psychotic symptoms Y the paranoia that users often experience after smoking.

A 2015 study found that THC increases paranoia in individuals who had previously experienced symptoms. But the study also revealed that paranoia is not always a direct result of THC. Paranoia could be a byproduct of other cannabis effects such as depression and the feeling of having an unusual experience.


Although it has been shown that cannabis can act as a medicine to help people fight depressionIn some cases, it could work the opposite way.

Research suggests that marijuana can cause depression especially in young people. Similarly, a study published in 2002 in the British Medical Journal concluded that Frequent use of cannabis in adolescents predicts depression in later years.

Even so, it is important to keep in mind that there are different types of depression and that marijuana can affect each type differently.

Memory impairment

Many studies have shown that cannabis users experience problems of short term memory; Other studies suggest that cannabinoids alter all types of memory.

Young people who use this drug may be at greater risk. A 2011 study suggested that memory impairment is more severe in cannabis-consuming adolescents, and could even have a more lasting impact.

However, frequent users often become tolerant to the memory problems cannabis can cause.

Lack of motivation

Some people are against the stereotype that marijuana users lose all motivation for work and studies. While this may be somewhat exaggerated, there is a lot of truth to this belief.

In a 2003 survey, 53% of marijuana consumers confirmed that they had lost motivation.

Loss of motivation could be explained because cannabis affects the brain. Some studies suggest that Long-term cannabis users have lower levels of dopamine, a chemical in the brain that is directly responsible for motivation.

Increased appetite

One of the best known side effects of marijuana is the need to 'chop'. Shortly after smoking, many consumers experience a sudden increase in appetite.

Although scientists are still unsure of the exact mechanism behind this effect, a 2015 study suggested that marijuana could activate certain pathways in the brain related to hunger.

Some believe that this side effect could be beneficial for people who use marijuana to treat pain and loss of appetite during cancer and chemotherapy.


Many users confirm feeling dizzy after smoking cannabis, especially when they wake up.

In a study conducted in 1992, 60% of participants reported that they felt moderately to severely dizzy while standing after smoking a marijuana cigarette.

Those who experienced severe dizziness during the study, they also showed a decrease in blood pressure, which provides a plausible explanation for this phenomenon.

However, studies also show that frequent users can develop a tolerance to many of the short-term effects of marijuana, including feelings of vertigo.

Dry mouth

Most people who use marijuana are familiar with the side effect known as "cotton mouth", which means that users experience an uncomfortable feeling from the lack of saliva production.

A study published in the Journal of Addiction Research in 2003, found that 79% of marijuana users experience dry mouth.

This effect can be minimized by chewing gum or food, as it stimulates the salivary glands to produce saliva.


Like most drugs, there is a high risk of addiction associated with cannabis use.

When a person stops using cannabis, cannabinoid receptors have to adjust to normal levels, which produces physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms.

A study conducted in 2010 found that 42% of users who tried to quit smoking experienced withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, difficulty sleeping, and decreased appetite.

Cannabis is a psychoactive drug which activates the same brain reward regions as well as other drugs of abuse such as alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, etc.

Fertility problems and harmful effects in pregnancy

This drug can affect our physical health at many levels. For example, marijuana can change the structure of sperm cells, deforming them.

Therefore, even small amounts of marijuana can cause temporary sterility in men. Marijuana use can also alter the menstrual cycle in women.

Cannabis is one of the few drugs that causes abnormal cell division, which leads to serious inherited defects. A pregnant woman who regularly smokes marijuana or hashish may give birth to a baby of insufficient size and weighing less than normal. In recent years, many children of marijuana users have been born with some malformation, suffer great concentration difficulties and an increased risk of having leukemia (bone marrow cancer).

Recent studies of marijuana

In a 2016 study, a link was found between certain genetic markers and symptoms of marijuana addiction, suggesting that some people may have a genetic predisposition to marijuana addiction. That same study showed some overlap between genetic risk factors for marijuana dependence and genetic risk factors for depression, suggesting a possible reason why these two conditions often occur together.