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Marijuana Essay, Research Paper

Hello my name is Chenoa Gipp, an I?m going to tell you about the drug commonly known as Marijuana. The scientific name being ?Cannabis Sativa.? Cannabis is the short name for the hemp plant. It is thought to have originated in Asia an then reached Europe more than a thousand years ago. It now thrives in most any climate. Spreading like milkweed or thistle, crowding out neighboring grasses an reaching heights of 3 to 20 feet at maturity. Marijuana has been cultivated for the last 5,000 years; it is one of the most oldest agricultural commodities not grown for food. The stalks of the plant contain fibers that have been woven millennia to make rope, canvas, an paper. Cannabis is dioecious, spawning male an female plants in equal proportion. The flowering buds of the female secrete a sticky yellow resin rich with cannabinoids, the more than 60 compounds in marijuana. Marijuana, hashish and hashish oil come from this plant.

Marijuana is the Mexican colloquial name for the plant known to botanists as Cannabis Sativa. In various forms it has long been familiar through out the world: In Africa it is known as ?dagga,? in China it is known as ?ma,? an in Northern Europe it is known as ?hemp.? It also has various nicknames in the U.S. such as ?weed, pot, reefer, grass, dope, ganja, Mary Jane, sinsemilla, hash, herb, Aunt Mary, skunk, boom, kif, gangster, chronic, mull, leaf, green, and bud.?

You may ask yourself asking the question, ?What is Marijuana?? The answer to that would be Marijuana is made from dried leaves and flowers of the plant and is the most widely used form of drug. Its color ranges from grayish-green to greenish-brown. The texture of the marijuana can be fine, with the appearance of dried herbs or dried parsley, or course, like tea. It is usually smoked in handrolled cigarettes called ?joints? or water pipes called ?bongs?. Another way of using the drug is eating it. (Note: eating the leaves or herbs of the marijuana plant can not have an effect on you if it is not baked in some sort of way.)

Many people wonder, ? What is the drug in cannabis?? The cannabis plant contains a chemical called THC ( delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) which affects many of the bodies functions. The amount of THC varies in different parts of the plant. For example, the flowers of the female plant have more THC than the stems or leaves. Smoking cannabis is the most common method of use. When it is smoked, THC is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream through the walls of the lungs. The ?high? effect of the drug is felt when the THC reaches the brain. The time varies on how long this can last, depending on how much is smoked (or eaten), an also what kind of marijuana it is, there are many different types of marijuana some stronger than others. When cannabis is eaten, the absorption of the THC is much slower, taking 1 to 3 hours for THC to reach the bloodstream, delaying the onset of the effects. The amount of food in the stomach an other characteristics of the user will also determine how quickly the user feels the effects. After smoking marijuana, an occasional user can fail a urine test 3 days after smoking a single joint, and a heavy user may test positive after abstaining from marijuana for more than a month.

Cannabis is difficult to classify pharmacologically since its effects vary. It is primarily a depressant; however, it can have hallucinogenic properties. Several of the chemicals in marijuana are psychoactive, most prominently THC. According to the Council of Alcohol an Drug Abuse Association; marijuana contains over 400 toxins an cancer-causing chemicals( although marijuana is often used to prevent cancer) including THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, which are stored in the fat cells for as long as 14 to 30 days. Marijuana can also cause the user to develop tolerance, increasing the need for more and more in order to experience the expected high. Some of the effects of marijuana use include increased heart rate, dryness of mouth(commonly known as ?cotton mouth?) , bloodshot or reddening of eyes, impaired or reduced short term memory, impaired or reduced comprehension, tendency to talk or laugh more than usual, increased appetite ( the ?munchies? ), tunnel awareness( where the person focuses their awareness on one thing an ignores all others),altered sense of time, restlessness, detachment from reality, reduced ability to perform tasks requiring concentration an coordination, such as driving a car. Also altered motivation an cognition, making the acquisition of new information difficult, paranoia, psychological dependence, impairments in learning and in memory perception, judgement- difficulty speaking, thinking, retaining knowledge, problem solving an forming concepts, and intense anxiety or panic attacks, .hallucinations, and fantasies. These symptoms usually disappear when the effects of the cannabis wears off. The effects of cannabis will vary from person to person depending on the characteristics of the:

Individual (user) ? for example: Mood, psychical size, weight, health, gender, previous experience with cannabis , expectations of the drug and personality;

Drug ? for example: The amount used, the content of THC an whether the drug is smoked or eaten;

Setting (environment) ? Whether the person is using with friends, or on his/her own, in a social setting or at home.

Illicit drug use has shown a steady increase during the 1990?s, particularly for marijuana.

Among 8th graders, annual prevalence tripled from 6% in 1991 to 18% in 1996.

For 10th graders, that rate has more than doubled from a low point in 1992 of 15% to 34% in 1996.

12th graders usage increased by nearly two thirds, from 22% in 1992 to 36% in 1996.

Nearly 1 in 20% of high school seniors is a current daily marijuana user; 1 of every 30 10th grader uses marijuana daily.

The long term health effects of chronic marijuana use is a great controversy. Marijuana does not create a physical dependence in users, but it does create a psychological dependence in some. People who smoke marijuana are far more likely to experiment later with other psychoactive drugs. Extended use of marijuana includes risks to the lungs and reproductive system. Smoking marijuana seems to damage the pulmonary system, in some of the ways that inhaling tabacco smoke does. The physician Donald Tashkin, of the University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center, has done a study of people who have smoked 4 or 5 joints a day for more than ten years, an has found substantial evidence that marijuana smoke can cause chronic bronchitis, changes in cells of the central airway which are potentially pre- cancerous, and an impairment in scavenger-cell function, which could lead to greater risk of respiratory infection. A joint seems to deliver 4 times as much carcinogenic tar as a tobacco cigarette of the same size. Smoking both greatly increases the risk of developing emphysema, cancer and other lung diseases.

Tashkin expects that some heavy marijuana users will eventually suffer cancers of the mouth, throat, and lungs, although none of his research subjects has yet developed a malignancy. Oddly enough the more potent strains of marijuana may prove less dangerous, since less of them is needs to be smoked.

Cannabis an pregnancy should not be mixed, most drugs can affect an unborn child. It is not wise to use any drugs during pregnancy. It is known that THC does pass through the placenta an reaches the baby. It can also pass into the mother?s milk after birth. Some studies linked reduced growth of the baby, by both weight an length, in the uterus. And the usage of cannabis by pregnant women.

There is much less disagreement about the short-term health effects of marijuana. According to physician Leo Hollister, a former president of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, says that the occasional use of marijuana by a healthy adult poses no greater risk than the moderate consumption of alcohol. However, marijuana should not be smoked by schizophrenics, pregnant women, an people with heart conditions. Although the misuse of over the counter medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and antihistamines each year kills hundreds of Americans, not a single death has ever been credibly attributed directly to smoking or consuming marijuana in the 5,000 years of the plants recorded use. Marijuana is one of the few therapeutically active substances known to man for which there is no well-defined fatal dose. It has been estimated that a person would have to smoke a 100 pounds of marijuana a minute for 15 minutes in order to induce a fatal response.

The use of cannabis and other drugs increases risks. When cannabis is combined with alcohol it can frequently lead to behaviour which causes injuries. For example, because cannabis interferes with a person?s motor and coordination skills, vision and perceptions of time and space, a person?s ability to drive safely and complete tasks that require concentration can be impaired. This impairment increases substantially when cannabis is used with alcohol.

According to a publishing put out by the Health Department of Western Australia, some problems associated with the use of marijuana are all drugs can be expensive to buy. The price of cannabis varies depending on the availability, how it is grown, quality of the marijuana, and market trends. Drug use can lead to social and emotional problems as well as the cost. Marijuana can effect a person?s relationship with family an friends. For example, one of the effects of cannabis can be loss of inhibitions. This in turn may lead to embarrassing or regrettable situations.

When there is illegal drug usage going on there has to be law. In western Australia, it is against the law to possess, grow, manufacture, trade or use any cannabis products. The penalties include fines of between $2,000 and $100,000 and/or a prison term of 2 to 25 years. The penalty will vary according to the quantity of the drug involved. It is not illegal to sell or display water pipes( bongs ) provided that there are no traces of cannabis in them; however, the use of a bong or possession of used equipment can result in a $3,000 fine or 3 years imprisonment. Anyone convicted on a cannabis charge will receive a criminal record. This can cause difficulties in getting a job, credit and visa?s for overseas travel.

It is shown that it is safer not to use cannabis at all. If; however, you use the drug or know someone who is using the drug remember that:

Smoking cannabis can lead to similar health effects as smoking tobacco.

Don?t drive or operate machinery. These activities may be dangerous while under the influence of cannabis.

Because using cannabis can have harmful effects, users can be in dangerous situations. Therefore, they should not be left alone. If a situation becomes unsafe call for help immediately.

This was my report on marijuana, thank you for listening. Goodbye


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