Physical and Pharmacological Effects of Marijuana
Cannabis is not only the most over used illicit drug in the united states (Gold, Frost-Pineda, & Jacobs, 2004; NIDA, 2010) it is in fact the most over used illegal drug worldwide (UNODC, 2010). In the united states it is a schedule-I substance which means that it is legally considered buy rove carts online as having no medical use and it is highly obsessive (US DEA, 2010). Doweiko (2009) explains that not all cannabis has abuse potential. He therefore suggests using the common vocabulary Marijuana when referring to cannabis with abuse potential. In the interests of clarity this vocabulary is used in this paper as well.
Today, Marijuana is in the headlines of international controversy deliberating the appropriateness of its widespread illegal status. In many Union states it has become legalized for medical purposes. This trend is known as “medical Marijuana inches and is strongly applauded by advocates while simultaneously loathed severely by opponents (Dubner, 2007; Nakay, 2007; Suv Tuyl, 2007). It is in this context that it was decided to choose the topic of the physical and pharmacological effects of Marijuana for the basis of this research article.
What is Marijuana?
Marijuana is a plant more correctly called cannabis sativa. As mentioned, some cannabis sativa plants do not have abuse potential and are called hemp. Hemp is used widely for various fiber products including newspaper and artist’s canvas. Cannabis sativa with abuse potential is what we call Marijuana (Doweiko, 2009). It is interesting to note that although widely studies for many years, there is a lot that researchers still have no idea about Marijuana. Neuroscientists and biologists know what the effects of Marijuana are but they still do not understand why (Hazelden, 2005).
Deweiko (2009), Gold, Frost-Pineda, & Jacobs (2004) point out that of approximately four hundred known chemicals found in the cannabis plants, researchers know of over 62 that are thought to have psychoactive effects on the human brain. The most well known and potent of these is â-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Like Hazelden (2005), Deweiko states that while we know many of the neurophysical effects of THC, the reasons THC produces these effects are unclear.
As a psychoactive substance, THC directly affects the central nervous system (CNS). It affects a massive array of neurotransmitters and catalyzes other biochemical and enzymatic activity as well. The CNS is stimulated when the THC activates specific neuroreceptors in the brain causing the various physical and emotional reactions which is to be expounded on more specifically further on. The only substances that can activate neurotransmitters are substances that mirror chemicals that the brain produces naturally. The fact that THC stimulates brain function teaches scientists that the brain has natural cannabinoid receptors. It is still unclear why humans have natural cannabinoid receptors and how they work (Hazelden, 2005; Martin, 2004). What we really do know is that Marijuana will stimulate cannabinoid receptors up to twenty times more make an effort to than any of the body natural neurotransmitters ever could (Doweiko, 2009).
Possibly the biggest mystery of all is the relationship between THC and the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin receptors are among the most stimulated by all psychoactive drugs, but most specifically alcohol and methods that. Independent of Marijuana ‘s relationship with the chemical, serotonin is a little understood neurochemical and its supposed neuroscientific roles of functioning and purpose are still mostly hypothetical (Schuckit & Tapert, 2004). What neuroscientists have found definitively is that Marijuana smokers have very high levels of serotonin activity (Hazelden, 2005). I would hypothesize that it may be this relationship between THC and serotonin that explains the inches Marijuana maintenance program” of achieving abstinence from alcohol and allows Marijuana smokers to avoid painful disengagement symptoms and prevent cravings from alcohol. The efficacy of inches Marijuana maintenance” for facilitating alcohol abstinence is not scientific but is a phenomenon I have personally witnessed with numerous clients.
Interestingly, Marijuana mimics so many neurological reactions of other drugs that it is extremely difficult to classify in a specific class. Researchers will stuff it in any of these categories: psychedelic; hallucinogen; or serotonin inhibitor. It has properties that mirror similar chemical replies as opioids. Other chemical replies mirror stimulants (Ashton, 2001; Gold, Frost-Pineda, & Jacobs, 2004). Hazelden (2005) classifies Marijuana in a unique special class : cannabinoids. The reason for this confusion is the difficulty of the numerous psychoactive properties found within Marijuana, both known and unknown. One recent client I saw could not cure the visual distortions he suffered as a result of pervasive psychedelic use as long as he was still smoking Marijuana. This was as a result of the psychedelic properties found within active cannabis (Ashton, 2001). Although not strong enough to produce these visual distortions without attention, Marijuana was strong enough to prevent mental performance from healing and recouping.
Cannibinoid receptors are found throughout the brain thus influencing a wide variety of functioning. The most important on the emotional level is the stimulation of the brain’s nucleus accumbens perverting the brain’s natural reward centers. Another is that of the amygdala which controls one’s emotions and fears (Adolphs, Trane, Damasio, & Damaslio, 1995; Suv Tuyl, 2007).
I have observed that the heavy Marijuana smokers who I work with personally manage to share a commonality of using the drug to manage their rage. This watching with interest has denoted based consequences and is the cornerstone of much scientific research. Research has in fact found that the relationship between Marijuana and managing rage is medically significant (Eftekhari, Turner, & Larimer, 2004). Rage is a defense mechanism used to guard against emotional consequences of adversity fueled by fear (Cramer, 1998). As stated, fear is a primary function controlled by the amygdala which is heavily stimulated by Marijuana use (Adolphs, Trane, Damasio, & Damaslio, 1995; Suv Tuyl, 2007).
Neurophysical Effects of THC:
Neurological messages between transmitters and receptors not only control emotions and psychological functioning. It is also how the body controls both volitional and nonvolitional functioning. The cerebellum and the basal ganglia control all actual movement and coordination. These are two of the most extremely abundantly stimulated areas of mental performance that are triggered by Marijuana. This explains Marijuana ‘s bodily effect causing altered blood pressure (Van Tuyl, 2007), and a weakening of the muscles (Doweiko, 2009). THC ultimately affects all neuromotor activity to some degree (Gold, Frost-Pineda, & Jacobs, 2004).
An interesting phenomena I have witnessed in almost all clients who identify Marijuana as their drug of choice is the use of Marijuana smoking before eating. This is explained by effects of Marijuana on the “CB-1” receptor. The CB-1 receptors in the brain are normally found heavily in the limbic system, or the nucleolus accumbens, which controls the reward path ways (Martin, 2004). These reward path ways are what affect the appetite and eating habits as part of the body natural tactical behavioral instinct, causing us to crave eating and rewarding us with dopamine when we finally do (Hazeldon, 2005). Martin (2004) makes this connection, pointing out that unique to Marijuana users is the stimulation of the CB-1 receptor directly triggering the appetite.
What is high grade and low grade?
A current client of my very own explains how he originally used to smoke up to fifteen joints of “low grade” Marijuana daily but eventually switched to “high grade” when the low grade was start to prove ineffective. In the end, fifteen joints of high grade Marijuana were becoming ineffective for him as well. He often failed to get his “high” from that either. This entire process occurred within five years of the patient’s first ever experience with Marijuana. What is high and low grade Marijuana, and why would Marijuana learn to lose its effects after a while?
The sexual strength of Marijuana is measured by the THC content within. As the market on the street becomes more competitive, the sexual strength on the street becomes more pure. It has caused a trend in ever rising sexual strength that picks up to demand. One average joint of Marijuana used to smoke today has the equivalent THC sexual strength as ten average joints of Marijuana used to smoke during the 1960’s (Hazelden, 2005).
THC levels vary mainly the amount area of the cannabis leaf is being used for production. For instance cannabis buds can be between two to nine times livlier than fully developed leaves. Hash oil, a form of Marijuana developed by distilling cannabis resin, can yield higher levels of THC than even high grade buds (Gold, Frost-Pineda, & Jacobs, 2004).
The need to raise the amount of Marijuana one buds, or the need to intensify from low grade to high grade is known medically as patience. Mental performance is efficient. As it appreciates that neuroreceptors will be stimulated without the neurotransmitters emitting those chemical signals, mental performance resourcefully decreases its chemical output so the total levels are back to normal. The smoker will not feel the high anymore as his brain is now “tolerating” the higher levels of chemicals and he or she is back to feeling normal. The smoker now raises the serving to get the old high back and the cycle continues. The smoker might find switching up in grades effective for a while. Eventually mental performance can cease to produce the chemical altogether, entirely relying on the man-made version being taken in (Gold, Frost-Pineda, & Jacobs, 2004; Hazelden, 2005).
Why isn’t there any disengagement?
The flip side of the patience process is known as “dependence. inches As the body stops producing a unique natural chemicals, it now needs the Marijuana user to continue smoking in order to continue the functioning of chemicals without disruption. The body is now ordering the ingestion of the THC making it extremely difficult to quit. In fact, studies show that Marijuana dependency is even more powerful than web harder drugs like cocaine (Gold, Frost-Pineda, & Jacobs, 2004).
With quitting other drugs like stimulants, opioids, or alcohol the body takes action in negative and sometimes severely dangerous ways. This is due to the sudden lack of chemical input tied together with the fact that mental performance has stopped a unique natural neurotransmission of those chemicals previously. This is the phenomenon of disengagement (Haney, 2004; Hazelden, 2005; Jaffe & Jaffe, 2004; Tabakoff & Hoffman, 2004).
While research has shown comparable disengagement reactions is Marijuana users such as alcohol or other drugs (Ashton, 2001), what I have witnessed many times in my personal interaction with clients is the apparent lack of disengagement experienced by most Marijuana users. Of course they experience cravings, but they don’t report having the same neurophysical disengagement reaction that the other drug users have. Some Marijuana smokers utilize this as their final proof that Marijuana “is not a drug” and they should therefore not be subjugated to the same treatment and pursuit of recovery efforts as other drug or alcohol abusers.
The reality is that the web lack of extreme disengagement is a product of the uniqueness of how the body stores THC. While alcohol and other drugs are out of the human beings system within a one to five days (Schuckit & Tapert, 2004), THC can take up to 1 month until it is fully expelled from the body (Doweiko, 2009). When THC is taken in by the smoker, it is initially distributed very rapidly through the heart, lungs, and brain (Ashton, 2001). THC however, is eventually converted into protein and becomes stored is body fat and muscle. This second process of storage in body fat reserve is a far slower process. When the user begins abstinence, fat stored THC begins its slow release back into the system. While the rate of reentry into the body system is too slow to produce any psychoactive effects, it will support easing the former smoker through the disengagement process in a more manageable and pain free manner. The more one buds the more one stores. The more body mass the smoker has, the more THC can be stored up as well (Doweiko, 2009). Thus, in huge clients I have seen it take up to 1 month before urine screens show a cleared THC level.
Similar to THC’s slow taper like cleansing is the slow rate of initial oncoming of psychoactive response. Clients report that they cannot get high smoking Marijuana right away : it takes them time for their bodied to become accustomed to it before they feel the high. This is explained by the slow ingestion of THC into fatty tissue reaching peak concentrations of mit in 4-5 days. As the THC begins to secrete slowly into the system, the bodily response will become higher rapidly with every new smoking of Marijuana resulting in another high. As the user repeats this process and high levels of THC accumulate chemistry and continue to reach mental performance, the THC is finally distributed to the neocortical, limbic, sensory, and motor areas that were detailed earlier (Ashton, 2001).
The neurology and neurophysiology of Marijuana has been described to date. There are many physical components of Marijuana smoking as well. National Institute on Drug use (2010) reports that Marijuana smokers can have many of the same respiration problems as tobacco smokers including daily cough, phlegm production, more frequent extreme chest illness, and a higher risk of lung infections. They quote research showing evidence that chronic Marijuana smokers, who do not smoke tobacco, have more health problems than low smokers because of respiration illnesses.
The definitive research showing the significant negative biophysical health effects of Marijuana is not decisive. We really do know that Marijuana smoke contains fifty to seventy percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke does (Ashton, 2001; Gold, Frost-Pineda, & Jacobs, 2004; NIDA, 2010). While some research demonstrates Marijuana smokers show dysregulated growth of epithelial cells in their lung tissue which can lead to cancer, other studies have shown no positive associations at all between Marijuana use and lung, high respiration, or high intestinal cancers (NIDA, 2010). Possibly the most eye opening fact of all is that all experts agree that over time there has yet to be a single documented death reported purely as a result of Marijuana smoking (Doweiko, 2009; Gold, Frost-Pineda, & Jacobs, 2004; Nakaya, 2007; Suv Tuyl, 2007).
Pharmacology : “Medical Marijuana inches:
This last fact about the web less harmful effects of Marijuana smoking even in comparison to legal drugs like alcohol and methods that is most often the very first offered by proponents of legalizing Marijuana for its positive medical advantages (Dubner, 2007; Nakaya, 2007; Suv Tuyl, 2007). Nakaya (2007) points to the web positive effects of Marijuana on alzheimers, cancer, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, and AIDS. While not scientific, personal experiences of the positive relief of sufferers from chronic illness is offered as benefits that are claimed to outweigh the side effects.
Suv Tuyl (2007) states “almost all drugs : including those that are legal : pose greater hazards to individual health and/or society than does Marijuana. inches She confirms that legalizing the smoking of Marijuana would not vindicate the positive effects but posits still that the risks associated with smoking can be “mitigated by alternate channels of administration, such as vaporization” (pg. 22-23). The arguments point out medically riskier drugs like opioids, benzodiazepines, and amphetamines that are administered by prescription on a daily basis. These drugs, like Vicodine, Xanex, or Ritalin, are internationally acceptable when deemed “medically necessary. inches
Conclusion and Expression:
While I am uncomfortable weighing in on the controversy of the legalization of Marijuana, in conclusion of this research paper there are clear significance for me as a practitioner. Alcohol too is quite legal, as is methods that, but for the addiction professional it is important to continue keeping a directive on the biopsychosocial considerations about the punishment of any substance. Because of the large lack of empirical knowledge about the neurobiological properties associated with exact brain functioning, an essential focus forward movement will show to be tracking breakthrough findings in the neuroscience of THC and other cannabanoids. The findings of particular importance for current practice are the pathology of Marijuana ‘s relationship with emotional self-medication, patience, and most of all the disengagement process. I have already commenced to utilize the knowledge of the physical and pharmacological effects of Marijuana expressed heretofore with personal success and look forward to continue utilizing a greater distance research to do the same.