Marijuana is most commonly abused drug in United States and some other countries. It is an illicit drug and smoked mostly for its psychoactive properties like euphoria and a sense of relaxation. Though Marijuana abuse leads to many physical and behavioral adverse effects, it is widely abused as it can be easily accessed and available at very low price. The Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is the primary psychoactive component of marijuana. Marijuana contains more than 400 chemicals and smoking marijuana deposits 4 times more tar than normal cigarette.
How Long It Will Stay In Body
Marijuana can stay in the body for few days, week, or for entire month after its last consumption. The depletion rate of Marijuana in body depends on metabolism of person and the half life of THC. Although half life of THC is said to be 1-10 days, it can vary depending on who used it, when it was used and many other factors. Hence it is difficult to estimate a specific period after which the THC will completely eliminated from the body. The metabolism of person and amount of marijuana smoked will also have an effect on length of time for which the person has to wait to clear the drug test without testing positive. Half life of THC is the length of time taken to loose half of THC in body. Thus, if more amount of marijuana is smoked then the person will have to wait for longer time before the THC drops below the detectable levels. But normally marijuana can remain in body for 3-30 days depending upon the metabolism rate and amount of marijuana smoked.
Short Term Effects on Health
Marijuana when consumed is associated with many physical and neurological effects. Some of the short term effects of marijuana abuse include increased heart rate, low blood pressure, anxiety, decreased perception, and improper functioning of short-term episodic memory, psychomotor coordination, working memory, and concentration. The withdrawal symptoms of marijuana are not as strong as other drugs and no drug therapy is required. The withdrawal symptoms may include nausea, sweating, weight loss, tremors, and insomnia etc.
Long Term Effects on Health
The long term effects of marijuana on health are still not precisely known. But studies so far have shown that consistent and regular use of marijuana or THC can play a role in causing cancer, and problems in respiratory and immune system. The studies have shown that people who smoke 5 joints of marijuana carries cancer causing chemicals equivalent to person smoking full pack of cigarettes a day. Smoking marijuana and cigarettes may change the tissue lining of respiratory track resulting in cancer. Marijuana smoking is also linked with testicular cancer.
Studies have also shown that smoking marijuana decreases ability of T cells of immune defense system of lungs to fight off infection. Long term marijuana smoking may lead to breathing problems and increased risk of lung infections. There is also risk of respiratory track and lung cancer as marijuana smoke has carcinogens.
The primary psychoactive component of marijuana, Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC also affects the brain by targeting the cannabinoid receptors on nerve cells and affects the activity of those cells. Studies have shown that babies born to mothers who used marijuana during pregnancy may have problems related to neurological development. Exposure to marijuana during prenatal period can affect the baby and cause altered response to visual stimuli, poor memory and attention etc.