Friday, October 23, 2009

Marijuana: Get the Facts

Knowledge is Power: The #1 deterrent of substance abuse in teens is PARENTS!
From GeorgetownCARES
Main active ingredient: THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) from the plant, cannabis sativa. THC is a hallucinogen, with analgesic/pain-relieving properties. Depending on the source of the marijuana, it may have added chemicals in it such as pesticides, other drugs or fungus. Hashish is a preparation of cannabis composed of the compressed stalked resin glands called trichomes, The effects are the same.
Short term effects: Causes hazy euphoria; alters time, depth, color and sound perception. Can cause anxiety, paranoia, distrust, panic, fatigue and depression. Stimulates appetite. Cognitive impairments include memory loss, increased distractibility, decreased learning retention/ability. Also causes restlessness, irritability, and sleep disturbance. Respiratory problems may develop, including a persistent cough, decreased immunity to colds, flu and lung infections.
Long term effects: Increased risk of lung cancer; regular users face a 70% increase in testicular cancer (NECN). Chronic marijuana smokers are vulnerable to chest colds, bronchitis, emphysema and bronchial asthma. In June 2009, the University of Leicester in England released study results that found carcinogens in marijuana smoke in amounts 50% greater than those found in cigarette smoke. They noted that occasional or recreational marijuana users are also at risk because most cannabis smokers inhale deeper and hold the smoke longer than cigarette users, reporting that smoking 3 to 4 joints (marijuana cigarettes) a day is associated with the same degree of damage to bronchial mucus membrane as smoking 20 cigarettes a day. Amotivational syndrome is common amongst long term marijuana smokers; symptoms of this include: increased levels of apathy, difficulty in starting new tasks, not accomplishing or not setting goals, decreased concentration, and a tendency toward introversion. In a 2008 study at University of Melbourne, the part of the brain believed to regulate emotion and memory, known as the hippocampus, was on average 12 per cent smaller in marijuana users compared to non-marijuana users. The amygdala, which regulates fear and aggression, was on average just more than 7 per cent smaller.
Adolescent Mental Health (from Weekly or more frequent use of marijuana doubles a teen’s risk of depression and anxiety. Depressed teens are more than twice as likely as their peers to abuse or become dependent on marijuana. Several studies have documented marijuana’s link with symptoms of schizophrenia and report that cannabis is an independent risk factor for schizophrenia. Heavy users of marijuana at age 18 increased their risk of schizophrenia later in life by six times. In addition, youth with a personal or family history of schizophrenia are at an even greater risk of marijuana-induced psychosis.10
Gateway effect: Teens who use pot weekly double the risk of depression, are 3X more likely to commit suicide, and are 80% more likely to use harder drugs by age 21. Teens who use marijuana monthly are about 38% more likely to use harder drugs by age 21. Results reported by the Rand Drug Policy Research Ctr. 2003
Addictive Nature: Can be addictive; users may become dependent upon it to feel good, deal with life, or handle stress. Frequent users develop tolerance, needing to smoke more to achieve the same effect. 20% of Drug Treatment admissions are for marijuana addiction.
Physical signs of use: red or bloodshot eyes, pupil dilation, droopy eye lids, tremor in eyelids or hands, slow speech, smell, dry mouth, excessive giggling, hunger (muchies) or thirst, impaired reaction time.
Paraphernalia: pipes (mostly homemade now, such as with soda cans), rolling papers, room deodorizers (and Febreze), Visine/eyedrops.

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