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Throughout the United States marijuana is the most common illegal drug used by people in all age groups. Marijuana is usually the first drug a young person tries when they're first experimenting with drug use. Marijuana is a mind altering drug and is also referred to as cannabis. It's a greenish colored mixture of dried stems, flowers, seeds, and leaves that have been shredded and marijuana also contains more than 400 chemicals.
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is THC which is the active chemical in marijuana that's responsible for the effects a person experiences when using the drug. Most people smoke marijuana to get high but some people combine it in food or brew it like tea and drink it. When marijuana is smoked, the THC in the vapors goes into the lungs and from there, directly into the bloodstream. The bloodstream transports the THC chemical to the brain and other body organs.
There are certain areas of the brain that THC reacts with, these areas are called cannabinoid receptors. This causes reactions in the cells and leads to the high a marijuana user is looking for. Unfortunately along with the high marijuana produces it can also distort perceptions, impairs a person's coordination, effects a person's thinking and ability to solve problems. Frequent marijuana use can affect a person's ability to learn and can affect their memory.
Marijuana use does speed up a person's heart rate not long after smoking it and can continue for up to 3 hours. People who smoke marijuana can have respiratory problems that are the same as tobacco smokers like coughs, phlegm, and chest illnesses more often and their risk of lung infections is higher.
Marijuana is very easy to get, partially due to illegal drug trafficking from Mexico and the production in the United States from many different drug trafficking organizations and criminal groups. The amount of marijuana that's produced throughout the U.S. is very high; this is based on the amount of plants that have been destroyed by law enforcement throughout the country from outdoor and indoor sites.
Marijuana Street Slang
All drugs of abuse have slang names given to them when users or sellers refer to them and depending on where you live the slang names can be different. Street names for marijuana include:
pot, grass, weed, herb, Mary Jane, reefer, skunk, boom, gangster, kif, chronic, and ganja.
When an individual uses marijuana frequently for any length of time they can become dependent. If a person is addicted to marijuana because of long term use they can experience withdrawal symptoms, according to users. According to research that's been done, around 9 percent of the people that use marijuana become addicted to it. The younger a person starts using marijuana the percent goes up to around 17% and for people that use marijuana daily the percent can increase anywhere from 25 to 50%.
Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms
The symptoms frequent marijuana users have reported when they stop using the drug include feeling irritable, trouble sleeping, their appetite decreases, feelings of anxiousness, and cravings or urges for repeated use. Marijuana withdrawal symptoms are quite similar to the symptoms experienced to nicotine withdrawal.
Marijuana's Medicinal Potential
As we all know there's been a lot of research and even more debate when it comes to the medicinal potential of marijuana. It's been confirmed by scientists that the cannabis plant does contain active therapeutic potential for relieving pain, controlling nausea, stimulating appetite, and decreasing ocular pressure which is pressure in the eyes.
There are medications that are cannabinoid based and include synthetic (man-made) compounds that are approved by the FDA which are called Marinol and Cesamet. Sativex is a new chemical pure mixture of plant derived THC and cannabidiol which comes in the form of a mouth spray. Sativex is approved in Canada and parts of Europe for the relief of pain associated with cancer and spasticity and neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis.Who Answers?
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I used to think that marijuana was no big deal. In my mind, everyone smoked pot. I didn't realize that my marijuana use was a problem until I decided I wanted to get a job. I knew I'd have a drug test and would need to stop smoking for a couple of days. I tried my best, but I just couldn't stop smoking. That's when I realized that I had a problem. I didn't know what to do, so I turned to the only person I've ever trusted in my entire life: my dad. Lucky for me, he didn't judge me. He didn't get mad. He just told me that he cared about me and that I needed to get help. I agreed but said that I didn't know how to get help. My amazing dad got me into rehab the very next day.
I was nervous going to rehab. I didn't know what to expect. My anxiety almost kept me from going, but I took the plunge, walked through the front doors and never looked back. My treatment team was amazing. They helped me figure out why I started using pot in the first place. At first I felt like an utter failure, but my treatment team helped me realize that I'm a success because I decided to go to rehab. Anyone can fall victim to addiction, but it takes strength to recover.
I don't understand how everyone talks about marijuana being no big deal. Marijuana is a drug, just as powerful as other illegal drugs. It ruins lives like other illegal drugs. It ruined my life. Everything was going great until I took my first hit. Sure, it felt great, but it was too great. I immediately became addicted. I couldn't think about doing well in school or planning to go to college anymore. The football team didn't matter to me anymore. All that mattered was getting high.
My school counselor realized that I wasn't doing well in school anymore. Most days I didn't even show up. She confronted me and I fessed up that I was addicted to pot. She helped me get into rehab. I'm so thankful that she did because I finally have my life back. I had to redo my junior year, but now I actually have a chance at doing well. I'm looking at colleges and deciding where I want to apply. I work part-time as a dishwasher at a local rehab and hope to work there as a counselor when I graduate from college.
I really hope everyone understands that marijuana isn't anything to mess around with. It's not fun and games. It's awful and can rip your life away before you even realize it. But, if you find yourself addicted, don't give up hope. recovery is possible. I've been clean now for almost six months and don't plan on ever picking up a joint again. I had to change the people I hung out with and transferred to a new high school to surround myself with new places, but I'm finally doing well.