Marijuana Compare and Constrast Essay

This essay has a total of 1792 words and 10 pages.


What is Marijuana.
Marijuana is a green, brown, or gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and
flowers of the hemp plant. You may hear marijuana called by street names such as pot,
herb, weed, grass, boom, Mary Jane, gangster, or chronic. There are more than 200 slang
terms for marijuana. Sinsemilla, hashish, and hash oil are stronger forms of marijuana.
All forms of marijuana are mind-altering. In other words, they change how the brain works.
They all contain THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the main active chemical in
marijuana. They also contain more than 400 other chemicals. Marijuana's effects on the
user depend on the strength or potency of the THC it contains. THC potency of marijuana
has increased since the 1970s but has been about the same since the mid-1980s.

Ways Marijuana is used.
Marijuana is usually smoked as a cigarette (called a joint or a nail) or in a pipe or a
bong. Recently, it has appeared in cigars called blunts.

Amount of time Marijuana stays inside a person's body.
THC in marijuana is strongly absorbed by fatty tissues in various organs. Generally,
traces (metabolites) of THC can be detected by standard urine testing methods several days
after a smoking session. However, in heavy chronic users, traces can sometimes be detected
for weeks after they have stopped using marijuana.

Marijuana among teens.
Contrary to popular belief most teenagers have not used marijuana and never will. Among
students surveyed in a yearly national survey, only about one in five 10th graders report
they are current marijuana users. Fewer than one in four high school seniors is a current
marijuana user.

Why young people use Marijuana.
There are many reasons why some children and young teens start smoking marijuana. Most
young people smoke marijuana because their friends or brothers and sisters use marijuana
and pressure them to try it. Some young people use it because they see older people in the
family using it.

Others may think it's cool to use marijuana because they hear songs about it and see it on
TV and in movies. Some teens may feel they need marijuana and other drugs to help them
escape from problems at home, at school, or with friends.

Effects of Marijuana use.
The effects of the drug on each person depend on the user's experience, as well as:
how strong the marijuana is (how much THC it has);
what the user expects to happen;
where (the place) the drug is used;
how it is taken; and
whether the user is drinking alcohol or using other drugs.
Some people feel nothing at all when they smoke marijuana. Others may feel relaxed or
high. Sometimes marijuana makes users feel thirsty and very hungry, an effect usually
called "the munchies."

Short term effects of Marijuana use.
Some users can get bad effects from marijuana. They may suffer sudden feelings of anxiety
and have paranoid thoughts. This is more likely to happen when a more potent variety of
marijuana is used.

The short-term effects of marijuana include:
problems with memory and learning
distorted perception (sights, sounds, time, touch)
trouble with thinking and problem-solving
loss of coordination and increased heart rate
These effects are even greater when other drugs are mixed with the marijuana and users do
not always know what drugs are given to them.

Marijuana and school, sports, as well as other activities.
Marijuana affects memory, judgment and perception. The drug can make you mess up in
school, in sports or clubs, or with your friends. If you're high on marijuana, you are
more likely to make stupid mistakes that could embarrass or even hurt you. If you use
marijuana a lot, you could start to lose interest in how you look and how you're getting
along at school or work. Athletes could find their performance is off; timing, movements,
and coordination are all affected by THC. Also, since marijuana use can affect thinking
and judgment, users can forget to have safe sex and possibly expose themselves to HIV, the
virus that causes AIDS.

Long term effects of Marijuana use.
Findings so far show that regular use of marijuana or THC may play a role in some kinds of
cancer and in problems with the respiratory, immune, and reproductive systems.

It's hard to know for sure whether regular marijuana use causes cancer. But it is known
that marijuana contains some of the same, and sometimes even more, of the cancer-causing
chemicals found in tobacco smoke. Studies show that someone who smokes five joints per
week may be taking in as many cancer-causing chemicals as someone who smokes a full pack
of cigarettes every day.

Lungs and airways
People who smoke marijuana often develop the same kinds of breathing problems that
cigarette smokers have: coughing and wheezing. They tend to have more chest colds than
nonusers. They are also at greater risk of getting lung infections like pneumonia.

Immune system
Animal studies have found that THC can damage the cells and tissues in the body that help
protect people from disease. When the immune cells are weakened, you are more likely to
get sick.

Marijuana leading to the use of other drugs.
It could. Long-term studies of high school students and their patterns of drug use show
that very few young people use other illegal drugs without first trying marijuana. For
example, the risk of using cocaine is 104 times greater for those who have tried marijuana
than for those who have never tried it. Using marijuana puts children and teens in contact
with people who are users and sellers of other drugs. So there is more of a risk that a
marijuana user will be exposed to and urged to try more drugs. To better determine this
risk, scientists are examining the possibility that long-term marijuana use may create
changes in the brain that make a person more at risk of becoming addicted to other drugs,
such as alcohol or cocaine. While not all young people who use marijuana go on to use
other drugs, further research is needed to predict who will be at greatest risk.
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