Cannabis is not only the most over used illicit drug in the united states (Gold, Frost-Pineda, & Jacobs, 2004; NIDA, 2010) it is in fact the most over used illegal drug worldwide (UNODC, 2010). In the united states it is a schedule-I substance which means that it is legally considered as thc oil for sale Europe having no medical use and it is highly addicting (US DEA, 2010). Doweiko (2009) explains that not all cannabis has abuse potential. He therefore suggests using the common terms Marijuana when referring to cannabis with abuse potential. In the interests of clarity this terms is used in this paper as well.
Today, Marijuana are at the front of international controversy deliberating the appropriateness of its widespread illegal status. In many Union states it has become legalized for medical purposes. This trend is known as “medical Marijuana inches and is strongly applauded by advocates while simultaneously loathed severely by opponents (Dubner, 2007; Nakay, 2007; Vehicle Tuyl, 2007). It is in this context that it was decided to choose the topic of the physical and pharmacological effects of Marijuana for the basis of this research article.
What is Marijuana?
Marijuana is a plant more correctly called cannabis sativa. As mentioned, some cannabis sativa plants do not have abuse potential and are called hemp. Hemp is used widely for various fiber products including newspaper and artist’s canvas. Cannabis sativa with abuse potential is what we call Marijuana (Doweiko, 2009). It is interesting to note that although widely studies for many years, there is a lot that researchers still are not aware about Marijuana. Neuroscientists and biologists know what the effects of Marijuana are but they still do not grasp why (Hazelden, 2005).
Deweiko (2009), Gold, Frost-Pineda, & Jacobs (2004) point out that of approximately 500 known chemicals found in the cannabis plants, researchers know of over 60mph that are thought to have psychoactive effects on the mental faculties. The most well known and potent of these is â-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Like Hazelden (2005), Deweiko states that while we know many of the neurophysical effects of THC, the reasons THC produces these effects are unclear.
As a psychoactive substance, THC directly affects the central nervous system (CNS). It affects a massive array of neurotransmitters and catalyzes other biochemical and enzymatic activity as well. The CNS is stimulated when the THC activates specific neuroreceptors in the brain causing the various physical and emotional reactions which will be expounded on more specifically further on. The only substances that can activate neurotransmitters are substances that mirror chemicals that the brain produces naturally. The fact that THC stimulates brain function teaches scientists that the brain has natural cannabinoid receptors. It is still unclear why humans have natural cannabinoid receptors and how they work (Hazelden, 2005; Martin, 2004). What we can say for certain is that Marijuana will stimulate cannabinoid receptors up to twenty times more make an effort to than any of the system’s natural neurotransmitters ever could (Doweiko, 2009).
Possibly the biggest mystery of all is the relationship between THC and the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin receptors are among the most stimulated by all psychoactive drugs, but most specifically alcohol and smoking. Independent of Marijuana is the reason relationship with the chemical, serotonin is a little understood neurochemical and its supposed neuroscientific roles of functioning and purpose are still mostly hypothetical (Schuckit & Tapert, 2004). What neuroscientists have found definitively is that Marijuana smokers have very high numbers of serotonin activity (Hazelden, 2005). I would hypothesize that it may be this relationship between THC and serotonin that explains the inches Marijuana maintenance program” of achieving abstinence from alcohol and allows Marijuana smokers to avoid painful revulsion symptoms and prevent cravings from alcohol. The efficacy of inches Marijuana maintenance” for assisting alcohol abstinence is not scientific but is a phenomenon I have personally witnessed with numerous clients.
Interestingly, Marijuana mimics so many neurological reactions of other drugs that it is extremely difficult to classify in a specific class. Researchers will put it in any of these categories: psychedelic; hallucinogen; or serotonin inhibitor. It has properties that mirror similar chemical results as opioids. Other chemical results mirror stimulants (Ashton, 2001; Gold, Frost-Pineda, & Jacobs, 2004). Hazelden (2005) classifies Marijuana in unique special class : cannabinoids. The reason for this confusion is the sophistication of the numerous psychoactive properties found within Marijuana, both known and unknown. One recent client I saw could not cure the visual distortions he suffered as a result of pervasive psychedelic use as long as he was still smoking Marijuana. This was as a result of the psychedelic properties found within active cannabis (Ashton, 2001). Although not strong enough to produce these visual distortions alone, Marijuana was strong enough to prevent mental performance from healing and recouping.
Cannibinoid receptors are situated throughout the brain thus impinging on a wide variety of functioning. The most important on the emotional level is the stimulation of the brain’s nucleus accumbens perverting the brain’s natural reward centers. Another is that of the amygdala which controls one’s emotions and fears (Adolphs, Trane, Damasio, & Damaslio, 1995; Vehicle Tuyl, 2007).
I have observed that the heavy Marijuana smokers who I work with personally find a way to share a commonality of using the drug to manage their tempers. This declaration has proved based consequences and is the cornerstone of much scientific research. Research has in fact found that the relationship between Marijuana and managing tempers is medically significant (Eftekhari, Turner, & Larimer, 2004). Tempers is a defense mechanism used to guard against emotional consequences of adversity supported by fear (Cramer, 1998). As stated, fear is a primary function controlled by the amygdala which is heavily stimulated by Marijuana use (Adolphs, Trane, Damasio, & Damaslio, 1995; Vehicle Tuyl, 2007).
Neurophysical Effects of THC:
Neurological messages between transmitters and receptors not only control emotions and psychological functioning. It is also how the body controls both volitional and nonvolitional functioning. The cerebellum and the basal ganglia control all actual physical movement and coordination. These are two of the very most abundantly stimulated areas of mental performance that are triggered by Marijuana. This explains Marijuana is the reason bodily effect causing altered blood pressure (Van Tuyl, 2007), and a worsening of the muscles (Doweiko, 2009). THC ultimately affects all neuromotor activity to varying degrees (Gold, Frost-Pineda, & Jacobs, 2004).
An interesting phenomena I have witnessed in almost all clients who identify Marijuana as their drug of choice is the use of Marijuana smoking before eating. This is explained by effects of Marijuana on the “CB-1” receptor. The CB-1 receptors in the brain are only heavily in the limbic system, or the nucleolus accumbens, which controls the reward path ways (Martin, 2004). These reward path ways are what affect the appetite and eating habits within the system’s natural you surviving behavioral instinct, causing us to crave eating and rewarding us with dopamine when we finally do (Hazeldon, 2005). Martin (2004) makes this connection, pointing out that unique to Marijuana users is the stimulation of the CB-1 receptor directly triggering the appetite.
What is high grade and low grade?
A current client of my verizon prepaid phone explains how he originally tried up to fifteen joints of “low grade” Marijuana daily but eventually switched to “high grade” when the low grade was beginning to prove ineffective. In the end, fifteen joints of high grade Marijuana were becoming ineffective for him as well. He often failed to get his “high” from that either. This entire process occurred within five years of the patient’s first ever experience with Marijuana. What is high and low grade Marijuana, and why would Marijuana start to lose its effects after a few years?
The strength of Marijuana is measured by the THC content within. As the market on the street becomes more competitive, the strength on the street becomes more pure. It has caused a trend in ever rising strength that reacts to demand. One average joint of Marijuana tried today has the equivalent THC strength as ten average joints of Marijuana tried during the 1960’s (Hazelden, 2005).
THC levels will be based mainly on which organ of the cannabis leaf is being used for production. For instance cannabis sprouts can be between two to nine times livlier than fully developed leaves. Hash oil, a form of Marijuana manufactured by distilling cannabis resin, can yield higher numbers of THC than even high grade sprouts (Gold, Frost-Pineda, & Jacobs, 2004).
The need to raise the amount of Marijuana one smoke, or the need to intensify from low grade to high grade is known medically as patience. Mental performance is efficient. As it identifies that neuroreceptors are increasingly being stimulated without the neurotransmitters emitting those chemical signals, mental performance resourcefully minimizes its chemical output so the total levels are back to normal. The smoker will not feel the high anymore as his brain is now “tolerating” the higher numbers of chemicals and he or she is back to feeling normal. The smoker now raises the serving to get the old high back and the cycle continues. The smoker might find switching up in grades effective for a while. Eventually mental performance can cease to produce the chemical altogether, entirely relying on the man made version being absorbed (Gold, Frost-Pineda, & Jacobs, 2004; Hazelden, 2005).
Why isn’t there any revulsion?
The flip side of the patience process is known as “dependence. inches As the body stops producing unique natural chemicals, it now needs the Marijuana user to continue smoking in order to continue the functioning of chemicals without disruption. The body is now ordering the consumption of the THC making it extremely difficult to give up. In fact, studies show that Marijuana reliance is even more powerful than relatively harder drugs like cocaine (Gold, Frost-Pineda, & Jacobs, 2004).
With quitting other drugs like stimulants, opioids, or alcohol the body responds in negative and sometimes severely dangerous ways. This is due to the sudden lack of chemical input tied together with the fact that mental performance has stopped unique natural neurotransmission of those chemicals way back when. This is the phenomenon of revulsion (Haney, 2004; Hazelden, 2005; Jaffe & Jaffe, 2004; Tabakoff & Hoffman, 2004).
While research has shown comparable revulsion reactions is Marijuana users like for example alcohol or other drugs (Ashton, 2001), what I have witnessed many times in my personal interaction with clients is the apparent lack of revulsion experienced by most Marijuana users. Of course they experience cravings, but they don’t report having the same neurophysical revulsion reaction that the other drug users have. Some Marijuana smokers work with this as their final proof that Marijuana “is not a drug” and they should therefore not be subjugated to the same treatment and search for recovery efforts as other drug or alcohol abusers.
The reality is that the relatively lack of serious revulsion is a product of the uniqueness of how the body stores THC. While alcohol and other drugs are out of an individuals system within a one to five days (Schuckit & Tapert, 2004), THC can take up to four weeks until it is fully expelled from the body (Doweiko, 2009). When THC is absorbed by the smoker, it is initially distributed very rapidly through the heart, bronchi, and brain (Ashton, 2001). THC however, is eventually became protein and becomes stored is body fat and muscle. This second process of storage in body fat reserve is a far slower process. When the user begins abstinence, fat stored THC begins its slow release back into the system. While the rate of reentry into the system’s system is too slow to produce any psychoactive effects, it will help with eliminating the former smoker through the revulsion process in a more manageable and pain free manner. The more one smoke the more one stores. The more body mass the smoker has, the more THC can be stored up as well (Doweiko, 2009). Thus, in huge clients I have seen it take up to four weeks before urine screens show a cleared THC level.
Similar to THC’s slow taper like cleansing is the slow rate of initial starting point of psychoactive response. Clients report that they just do not get high smoking Marijuana right away : it takes them time for their bodied to become accustomed to it before they feel the high. This is explained by the slow intake of THC into fatty tissue reaching peak concentrations of mit in 4-5 days. As the THC begins release a slowly into the system, the bodily response will become higher rapidly with every new smoking of Marijuana resulting in another high. As the user repeats this process and high numbers of THC accumulate by the body processes and continue to reach mental performance, the THC is finally distributed to the neocortical, limbic, sensory, and motor areas that were detailed earlier (Ashton, 2001).
The neurology and neurophysiology of Marijuana has been described to date. There are many physical components of Marijuana smoking as well. National Institute on Drug use (2010) reports that Marijuana smokers can have many of the same respiratory system problems as tobacco smokers including daily cough, phlegm production, more frequent serious chest illness, and a higher risk of lung infections. They quote research showing evidence that chronic Marijuana smokers, who do not smoke tobacco, have an overabundance health problems than low smokers because of respiratory system illnesses.
The definitive research saving the significant negative biophysical health effects of Marijuana is not decisive. We can say for certain that Marijuana smoke contains fifty to seventy percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke does (Ashton, 2001; Gold, Frost-Pineda, & Jacobs, 2004; NIDA, 2010). While some research demonstrates Marijuana smokers show dysregulated growth of epithelial cells in their lung tissue which can lead to cancer, other studies have shown no positive associations at all between Marijuana use and lung, top respiratory system, or top digestive system cancers (NIDA, 2010). Possibly the most eye opening fact of all is that all experts agree that in times past there has yet to be a single documented death reported purely as a result of Marijuana smoking (Doweiko, 2009; Gold, Frost-Pineda, & Jacobs, 2004; Nakaya, 2007; Vehicle Tuyl, 2007).
Pharmacology : “Medical Marijuana inches:
This last fact about the relatively less harmful effects of Marijuana smoking even useful legal drugs like alcohol and smoking is most often the very first offered by proponents of legalizing Marijuana for its positive medical advantages (Dubner, 2007; Nakaya, 2007; Vehicle Tuyl, 2007). Nakaya (2007) points to the relatively positive effects of Marijuana on alzheimers, cancer, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, and AIDS. While not scientific, personal experiences of the positive relief of sufferers from chronic illness is offered as benefits that are claimed to outweigh the unintended side effects.
Vehicle Tuyl (2007) states “almost all drugs : including those that are legal : pose greater dangers to individual health and/or society than does Marijuana. inches She confirms that legalizing the smoking of Marijuana would not rationalize the positive effects but posits still that the risks associated with smoking can be “mitigated by alternate avenues of administration, such as vaporization” (pg. 22-23). The arguments point out medically riskier drugs like opioids, benzodiazepines, and amphetamines that are administered by prescription on a daily basis. These drugs, like Vicodine, Xanex, or Ritalin, are internationally acceptable when deemed “medically necessary. inches
Conclusion and Reflectivity:
While I am uncomfortable weighing in on the controversy of the legalization of Marijuana, in conclusion of this research paper there are clear effects for me as a practitioner. Alcohol too is quite legal, as is smoking, but for the addiction consultant it is important to continue keeping a directive on the biopsychosocial considerations about the improper use of any substance. Because of the large lack of empirical knowledge about the neurobiological properties associated with exact brain functioning, a vital focus dancing will provide tracking breakthrough findings in the neuroscience of THC and other cannabanoids. The findings of particular importance for current practice are the pathology of Marijuana is the reason relationship with emotional self-medication, patience, and most of all the revulsion process. I have already commenced to utilize the information of the physical and pharmacological effects of Marijuana expressed heretofore with personal success and look forward to continue utilizing deeper research to do the same.