Marihuana: Know the effects and risks associated with marijuana use

Conoce los efectos y riesgos asociados al consumo de marihuana.

Source: SENDA (Conace)

Scientific name: Cannabis Sativa.

Popular name: marijuana, weed, macoña, ganja, whistle, the gun, pipe, joint, huiro.

Rating: Depressor, hallucinogenic

Form of consumption: Marijuana is usually smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes or pipes specially designed (sometimes with long canes or small water to cool the smoke, which often reaches high temperatures).

It is also eaten (in cakes or cookies).

The “hash” is dried cannabis resin and smoke mixed with snuff.

Effects on the body

The effects are rapid onset and vary depending on the dose, type of cannabis and mood of the individual physical and consume.


– Low doses

Initially they may produce pleasurable feelings of calm and well-being, increased appetite, euphoria, disinhibition, loss of concentration, diminished reflexes, like talking and laughing, red eyes, rapid heartbeat, dry mouth and throat, difficulty in performing complex mental processes (an exam, for example), impaired sensory perception and temporary, and may reduce short-term memory.

This is followed by a second phase of depression and drowsiness.

High dose

Can cause confusion, lethargy, agitation, anxiety, altered perception of reality and, more unusually, states of panic and hallucinations.

Long-term effects

Highlights the “amotivational syndrome” (low personal initiative), coupled with frequent low concentration and memorization.

The chemical structure of cannabis is very complex and not yet know the effects produced by all components. What can be affirmed that marijuana or hashish smokers inhale the unfiltered smoke deeply and hold it in the lungs as long as they can be more harmful to the respiratory system that snuff. Its use has also been associated with the onset of diseases such as sinusitis and bronchitis.

Can also cause abnormalities in male and female reproductive system (infertility, for example) and immune systems. As the active compound in marijuana (tetrahydrocannabinol) crosses the placenta and breast, its use poses a risk to the fetus both during pregnancy and in lactation.

You can generate tolerance and dependence, with the consequent withdrawal if they abruptly stop using the drug. This turns into anxiety, insomnia, irritability, depression and anorexia, among other symptoms.

Heart rate and blood pressure

May cause temporary increase in heart rate depending on the dose used. Cannabis use can be dangerous for those with hypertension, cerebrovascular disease and coronary atherosclerosis.

Conjunctival congestion

With the ingestion and inhalation of cannabis is a redness due to dilation of blood vessels of the eyeball.

Psychomotor performance

It can cause tremors and instability if the smoker is standing. Performance difficult to complex tasks. The consumer of cannabis has continued attention inability to assimilate and process complex information. Are difficult to handle automobiles, airplanes and piloting the operation of other machines. These deficiencies can last up to 10 hours after the onset of effects of cannabis.

Respiratory effects

Cannabis, whether as marijuana or hashish, contains as much tar as snuff. Cannabis smokers develop less pulmonary diffusion capacity and forced expiratory flow (throw the air from the lungs with difficulty) because inhale deeply, hold smoke in their lungs for a longer period of time and smoke a cigarette completely. In addition, smoke is not filtered.

Chronic use is associated with the onset of bronchitis, asthma and sinusitis. There is also evidence that cannabis smoke and residues containing carcinogenic substances related to malignant cellular changes in lung tissue.

Psychological effects

This drug acts on the cerebral cortex, primarily in the areas that control movement of limbs, sensory organs and behavior.

Specific types of psychological performance that are affected by their consumption, including the digit-symbol substitution (changing meanings of the environment), union of digits, serial subtraction (inability to follow a logical sequence), reading comprehension and increase the perception of time. The more complex, less familiar and more difficult the task, the worse the performance.

It also alters the perception of sight, sound and touch, affecting mood and social interaction.

Studies show that chronic use of drugs seems to correlate with manifest psychopathology. Cannabis abusers are psychologically similar to those who abuse other drugs.

In studies with regular users of cannabis, they have shown mismatches at work and an inability to address new problems autorreconocida. In addition, they observed greater hostility toward their peers, more cases of depression and a greater degree of anxiety than casual users.


It is proven the potential of cannabis as a trigger of psychosis and delusions and hallucinations boxes in people at risk. Not all users of cannabis experience necessarily more dangerous substances, but the risk exists.

Then there is the danger of condition or limit the possibilities to live free and autonomously personal development in adolescents. It also creates a psychological dependence: the user feel like the drug effect.

There is little chance of fatal overdose cannabis.


Libro: Ante la marijuana – Download

About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
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