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Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the
sourced chemical that creates the psychological effects of marijuana. This
mimics like the cannabinoid chemical made organically by the body. These
natural receptors are found in the cerebral cortex, limbic system, and
cerebellum and the THC attaches to the cannabinoid receptors and affects an
individual’s motor functions, thoughts, mood, and pleasure. Neurotransmitters
are the chemical transporters of the nervous system. Various chemicals release distinct
neurotransmitters. Certain drugs can strengthen or weaken neurotransmitters.

Agonist drugs can replicate the characteristics of a neurotransmitters, whereas
antagonist drugs block the natural activity of certain neurotransmitters.

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THC influences dopamine levels. In
an article found in London’s Evening Standard, Hagan says, “And he explained
that cannabis can sensitize users to dopamine, a chemical in the brain which
can trigger psychosis” (Hagan, 2004). So, one can infer that overuse of this
drug can cause a user to have a losing grip on reality. “Dopamine deficits in
the striatum have been associated with reduced cognitive performance” (Taub,
2016). This proves why marijuana users tend to act sluggish and is slow at
verbal response when they are high. THC also affects Serotonin. It increases
serotonin levels in the brain and is proven by a “2004 study, researchers gave
THC to mice and serotonin levels increased” (Leaf Science, 2017).

THC can affect both long term and short-term
memory. Long term effects include memory, learning, poorer verbal memory, and
impulse control. Short-term effects include difficulty forming memories whilst
under the influence, not being able to recall events, working memory responses
are slower and not accurate compared to your brain sober, and it also affects
spatial memory.

When a user stops taking THC, their
body can undergo a short-term detox. The effects of the short-term detox are withdrawal
symptoms, insomnia, depression, nightmares, and anger. Physical symptoms also
include headaches, night sweats, hand sweats, body odor, coughing phlegm, loss
of appetite, weight loss, digestion issues, cramps, nausea, vomiting, tremors,
kidney pains, impotency, hormone changes/imbalances, low immunity, chronic
fatigue, and some eye problems (Marijuana Anonymous, 1992). Symptoms such as
coughing, insomnia, depression, and anxiety fall under the category of long
term symptoms after quitting THC and can last for several months until they
completely disappear.

THC does have addictive properties.

Marijuana is “accessible, affordable, and not considered harmful” (Archer,
2012). Also, a majority of states in the US have legalized marijuana so it can
easily be accessible to those who seek it out. Individuals can feel a
psychological dependence on THC rather than a physical craving. The more use of
THC, the more difficult it would be to be without it. The psychological symptoms
of THC addiction are seen as less grave and is manageable, but the brain will
have a desire to crave it and sometimes the craving is uncontrollable. Even though
there are negative consequences, the brain will ignore that and seek out the
blissful feeling of THC. THC may not be as dangerous as heroin, cocaine, or
MDMA but it still has addicting properties. It may be a “minor” drug in
comparison to the other “heavier” drugs, but it should not be written off as a
drug that cannot be addictive.

THC has an effect on personality
during its use. For example, a serious and high-strung person once under the
influence can become a more relaxed, happy go lucky, and comedic. The effect
that the drug has can inhibit a response where the user feels like they have a
body high. Some people have stated that under the influence they physically
feel like they are floating, on a different planet, or that sensation when you
are floating on water, on the opposite end of that spectrum people can feel
heavy, sluggish, and that time is not even moving at all. When operating heavy machinery,
individuals can feel like they are trying to be as alert as they can, but are
failing to do so. Such as, when driving, the driver tries to be as alert as
possible but in reality, the car is moving at 10 miles per hour. When users
smoke after a long stressful day or after a shift at work, smoking can also be
therapeutic alike how people drink alcohol after a long day. It is like
inhaling all the stress from that day and exhaling relaxation. Smoking can
create a sensation of dry mouth, or the term “cotton mouth.” Right after
exhaling, there is a feeling of a burning throat and nothing can relive that
burning, scratching throat until a huge coughing fit or a large glass of cold
water. The term coined “munchies” is a response after smoking where hunger is
heightened, and it feels as though people can eat everything and anything, and
there are also odd food combinations that can seem amazing, such as a fig
newton with cold cheese wrapped in a cold tortilla. Impotency can occur where
two consenting people are too relaxed to perform coitus, there is also a lack
of stamina that comes into play as well. With any strain of marijuana, users
can also feel drowsy with a lack of focus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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