Marijuana is a substance gotten from the dried flowers, stems, leaves and seeds of the hemp plant known as Cannabis sativa. It is usually smoked or mixed into foods mainly for the purpose of intoxication, in other words, ‘getting high’. The effects of smoking marijuana can range from mild to severe depending on the quantity and frequency of consumption. These may be noticed immediately after smoking it, but can take a longer period of time if eaten in food because the digestive system has to work on it. Smoking marijuana seems to be more common among the youths than among adults probably because youths are less busy and have more time on their hands than the working ones. However, marijuana has a lot of detrimental effects on the body system of anyone, some of these are:
1. It damages the lungs: It is widely known that smoking damages the lungs and lowers life expectancy, but this does not seem to discourage habitual smokers. Research has shown that smoking marijuana clearly damages the human lungs by injuring the cell linings of the airways and causing both chronic and acute bronchitis. Once the respiratory system is affected, it becomes difficult to breathe and symptoms such as coughing and wheezing show up.
2. It affects the nervous system: Inhaling marijuana smoke causes an imbalance in the normal functioning o the central nervous system. People mostly consume marijuana for this purpose as the high feeling makes them feel happy and unaffected by reality. However, very large doses of marijuana can cause hallucinations, delusions and dizziness.
3. It harms the heart: Within minutes of smoking marijuana, the substances it moves from the lungs into the bloodstream and throughout the entire body. Within this short period of time the individual’s heart rate can speed up and the heart rate which is normally seventy to eighty beats per minute may increase by twenty to fifty beats per minutes or even double leading to a higher risk of heart attack.
4. It may affect the immune system: Smoking marijuana can also affect the immune system, making the body more vulnerable to illness. For example, smoking marijuana reduces the lung’s defensive system by killing the cells that help remove dust and germs. Studies involving animals suggest that marijuana smoke considerably weakens the immune system.