The famous medical magazine “The Lancet”, based on a survey of reputable experts in various fields, compiled a rating of the most dangerous drugs in the world and put marijuana in 11th place (table 1). It is noteworthy that in this rating there are also legal drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco, occupying 5th and 9th places, respectively.
Table 1 - Top 20 most dangerous drugs, according to the magazine "The Lancet" .
THC - the active ingredient in marijuana
There are three types of hemp: Cannabis Sativa , Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Ruderalis . The first two varieties are popular in drug practice, since Cannabis Ruderalis does not exert the desired narcotic effect.
The psychotropic effect of marijuana is due to the content of cannabinoids in hemp, the most powerful of which is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The activity of the drug is determined by the content of THC. Cannabis Sativa contains the largest amount 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 hash are obtained from the same hemp plant, but there are some differences in their preparation: marijuana is a narcotic substance obtained from the leaves and stems of hemp, with a small addition of plant flowers, while hash is a resinous substance obtained from tops of hemp grass. Marijuana contains 0.5–4% THC, while cannabis contains THC starting at 2.8% and can even reach 10–20%. For these reasons, hash has a more pronounced narcotic effect .
The use and effects of marijuana
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 jamb - a cigarette or cigarette, where tobacco is replaced by marijuana. However, there are many other methods and devices for the production of marijuana, including oral ingestion (i.e. for food).
Once in the bloodstream, cannabinoids quickly leave it and are distributed into tissues rich in lipids (body fat, brain). Psychoactive substances begin to act almost immediately, reach a maximum in half an hour, and retain the effect for 2-4 hours .
For cannabinoid intoxication is characteristic:
- general relaxation and a state of lightness (there is a slight languor, a feeling of self-weight is lost);
- rampant laughter (for no apparent reason);
- hyperesthesia of sound, color, and taste stimuli (colors become brighter or fade, sounds merge into music, delicious food seems even tastier, etc.);
- increase in social activity (sociability, talkativeness);
- violation of the perception of space, objects;
- subjective perception of time (time is either very slow or very fast);
- rise of libido.
When intoxicated with cannabinoids, an individual predominance of certain conditions is noted. The effect of hash, more than the effect of other drugs, is determined by the installation on the expected affect .
In some cases, cannabinoid intoxication (especially in combination with alcohol intoxication) can cause a feeling of panic fear, anxiety, which threatens danger. In slang, such a state is called "treason", "sit down on treason." “Treason” is stopped by a mug of sweet hot tea .
The effects of long-term marijuana use on men's health
The ability of marijuana with prolonged use to cause negative effects is a matter of debate. Some scientists are of the opinion that marijuana, like any other drug, has a destructive effect on the physical and psychological health of the individual. Others question many of the conclusions about the dangers of marijuana.
Difficulties in describing the consequences of hashism, according to some scholars, are presented in the following :
- switching to other drugs, which is often preceded by the use of hash, masks the effects of hashishism;
- individuals whose addiction to marijuana is chronic are those groups in which the individual’s life falls outside social control and also is short-lived.
The most frequent somatic changes are expressed in manifestation :
- cardiac pathology (myocardial dystrophy, sinus arrhythmia of the heart , extrasystole);
- liver diseases (hepatitis, atrophy);
- renal failure;
- chronic bronchitis.
Brain and cognitive abilities
Reliably recorded short-term impaired thinking, deterioration of short-term memory during cannabinoid intoxication. However, no convincing data were obtained on persistent impairment of long-term memory and other cognitive abilities with prolonged use of marijuana.
There is also no convincing 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 cough, shortness of breath, pulmonary 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 a certain amount of carcinogens and irritating substances, leading to various pathologies of the respiratory tract.
Here, the amount of inhaled smoke, that is, the total amount of carcinogens obtained, is of particular importance. Typically, marijuana smokers draw in deeper and trap smoke in their lungs longer than tobacco smokers. However, it is also true that tobacco smoking occurs more often than smoking marijuana, which increases the total amount of carcinogens received.
Endocrine system, sexual and reproductive function
The effects on the endocrine system are still poorly understood. A known case of a decrease in sex hormones (testosterone) , deterioration of sexual function, the manifestation of gynecomastia . In animal studies, the administration of high doses of THC led to a marked decrease in the production of sex hormones and impaired reproductive function.
There are some reports that prolonged use of marijuana can reduce the size and density of the testicles .
According to representatives of official medicine, prolonged abuse of hash leads to a change in personality. Outside of drug intoxication, the following can be noted:
- loss of interest in life ;
- loss of social activity, isolation;
- emotional lability;
- narrowing of interests;
- decreased concentration of attention, memory.
Domestic narcology considers the abuse of hemp drugs as a manifestation of drug addiction, highlighting the general patterns with other forms of drug addiction with the corresponding social consequences.
Article edited 04/03/16
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