The well-known medical journal The Lancet, based on a survey of reputable experts in various fields, compiled a ranking of the most dangerous drugs in the world and placed cannabis in 11th place (Table 1). It is noteworthy that in this rating there are also legal drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco, which occupy the 5th and 9th places, respectively.
Table 1 - Top 20 most dangerous drugs, according to the magazine “The Lancet” .
THC - the active substance of marijuana
Three types of cannabis are distinguished : Cannabis Sativa , Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Ruderalis . The first two varieties are popular in drug practice, because Cannabis Ruderalis does not have the desired narcotic effect.
The psychotropic effect of marijuana is due to the cannabinoid content in cannabis, the strongest of which is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The content of the THC is determined by the content of the drug. Cannabis Sativa contains the largest number of psychoactive substances . The content of THC also depends on the part of the plant - the highest content of psychoactive substances is recorded in the flowering tops of the plant.
Both marijuana and hashish are produced from a single cannabis plant, but there are some differences in their preparation: marijuana is a narcotic substance derived from the leaves and stalks of cannabis, with a slight addition of plant flowers, while hash is a resinous substance derived from the tops of hemp grass. Cannabis contains 0.5–4% THC, while hashish has a THC content of 2.8% and may even reach 10–20%. For these reasons, hashish has a more pronounced narcotic effect .
Marijuana use and effects
Mode of application
The most rational way to obtain the desired narcotic effect is achieved by smoking marijuana. To do this, use the so-called cant - roll-up cigarette or a cigarette, where tobacco is replaced by marijuana. However, there are still many ways and devices to produce marijuana, including oral intake (that is, for food).
Once in the bloodstream, cannabinoids quickly leave it and are distributed to tissues rich in lipids (fatty deposits, the brain). Psychoactive substances begin to act almost immediately, reach a maximum after half an hour, and retain their effect within 2-4 hours .
For cannabinoid intoxication is characteristic:
- general relaxation and a state of lightness (there is a slight languor, the sensation of own weight is lost);
- uncontrollable laughter (for no apparent reason);
- hyperesthesia of sound, color and taste stimuli (colors become brighter or dull, sounds merge into music, tasty food seems even tastier, etc.);
- increased social activity (sociability, talkativeness);
- violation of perception of space, objects;
- subjective perception of time (time stretches either very slowly or very quickly);
- lifting libido.
When intoxicated by cannabinoids, individual predominance of certain conditions is noted. The effect of hashish, more than the action of other drugs, is determined by the installation on the expected affect .
In some cases, cannabinoid intoxication (especially when combined with alcohol intoxication) can cause a feeling of panic fear, anxiety, and danger. In slang, this state is called "treason", "sit down for treason." “Betrayal” is stopped by a mug of sweet hot tea .
The effects of long-term marijuana use on male health
The ability of marijuana with long-term use to cause negative effects is the subject of controversy. Some scientists are of the opinion that marijuana, like any other drug, has a destructive effect on the physical and psychological health of an individual. Others question many of the findings regarding the harm of marijuana.
Difficulties in describing the consequences of hashishism, according to some scholars, are as follows :
- switching to other drugs, which is often preceded by the use of hashish, masks the consequences of hashishism;
- Individuals whose addiction to marijuana is chronic, belong to such groups in which the life of the individual falls out of social control, as well as short.
The most frequent somatic changes are expressed in the manifestation :
- cardiac pathology (myocardial dystrophy, sinus cardiac arrhythmia , extrasystole);
- liver diseases (hepatitis, atrophy);
- renal failure;
- chronic bronchitis.
Brain and cognitive abilities
Short-term disturbances of thinking, deterioration of short-term memory during cannabinoid intoxication are reliably recorded. However, there is no convincing evidence of persistent impairment of long-term memory and other cognitive abilities with long-term use of marijuana.
There is also no conclusive evidence that chronic marijuana use causes anatomical changes in the brain.
The effect of smoking marijuana on the lungs is actually the only documented negative physiological consequence . Complications of the respiratory tract can be manifested by coughing, shortness of breath, emphysema, and other diseases characteristic of chronic smoking. This is due to the fact that the smoke from the combustion of tobacco and marijuana contains some amount of carcinogens and irritants, leading to various pathologies of the respiratory tract.
Here, the amount of inhaled smoke, that is, the total amount of carcinogens produced, is of particular importance. Normally, smokers of marijuana are deeper and hold smoke in their lungs longer than tobacco smokers. However, it is also true that tobacco smoking occurs more often than marijuana smoking, which increases the total amount of incoming carcinogens.
Endocrine system, sexual and reproductive function
The implications for the endocrine system are still poorly understood. There are cases of a decrease in sex hormones (testosterone) , deterioration of sexual function, manifestation of gynecomastia . In animal studies, the administration of high doses of THC resulted in a marked decrease in the production of sex hormones and impaired reproductive function.
There are some reports that prolonged use of marijuana may reduce the size and density of the testicles .
According to representatives of official medicine, prolonged abuse of hashish leads to personality change. Outside of drug intoxication can be noted:
- loss of interest in life ;
- loss of social activity, isolation;
- emotional lability;
- narrowing of interests;
- decrease in concentration of attention, memory.
Domestic Addiction Medicine, considers the abuse of cannabis drugs as a manifestation of drug addiction, highlighting common patterns with other forms of drug addiction with corresponding social consequences.
Article edited 04/03/16
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