The Odessa Record -

Letter to the Editor: Former pharmacist's views on marijuana

 

November 9, 2017



To the Editor:

This is what web MD says about marijuana. Also a study out of New Zealand on young adults 17-21 showed that after 40 years the teens who continued to smoke pot had an IQ of 10% less than the teenagers who did not smoke pot. Marijuana reduces your incentive to achieve and work. To me, the bad far outweighs the good. Read on what the medical journal, Web MD, has to say about marijuana.

Marshall Roberts,

Wenatchee

[Owner and pharmacist at Odessa Drug for 37 years]

From WebMD: If you’ve ever smoked a joint or eaten a pot-laced brownie, you’re hardly alone: More than 1 in 3 people in America have tried marijuana at one point in their lives.

Though occasional use isn’t usually harmful, pot can affect your body and mind any time it gets into your system. Here’s what you need to know.

Physical effects

Marijuana comes from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. It has an active ingredient called THC that makes you feel high. THC and other compounds in marijuana can also affect the way your body works.

Most people smoke the plant’s dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds. But marijuana can also be mixed into food (like brownies, cookies, and lollipops), brewed as a tea, or inhaled with a vaporizer.

No matter how it gets into your system, it affects almost every organ in your body, and your nervous system and immune system, too. When you smoke pot, your body absorbs THC right away. (If you eat a baked good or another item, it may take much longer for your body to absorb THC, because it has to break down in your stomach before it enters your bloodstream). You may notice changes in your body right after you smoke. The effects usually stop after 3 or 4 hours.

Smoking pot can increase your heart rate by as much as two times for up to 3 hours. That’s why some people have a heart attack right after they use marijuana. It can increase bleeding, lower blood pressure, and affect your blood sugar, too.

We don’t yet know if marijuana is linked to higher odds of getting lung cancer. But the process does irritate your lungs, which is why regular pot smokers are more likely to have an ongoing cough and lung-related health problems like chest colds and lung infections.

Other physical effects of marijuana include dizziness, shallow breathing, red eyes and dilated pupils, dry mouth, increased appetite and slowed reaction time (if you drive after using marijuana, your risk of being in a car accident more than doubles).

If you’re a long-time user, you can have physical withdrawal symptoms – like cravings, irritability, sleeplessness and less appetite – when you stop.

Changes to mind, mood

Most people use marijuana because the high makes them feel happy, relaxed or detached from reality.

Smoking pot can also have less-pleasant effects on your mind and mood. You might have a distorted sense of time, random thinking, paranoia, anxiety, depression, short-term forgetfulness.

These effects usually ease up a few hours after you’ve used the drug.

Risks of marijuana use

Though you may have heard otherwise, marijuana can be addictive: Nearly 10% of people who use it become dependent on it. It isn’t clear whether marijuana is a gateway drug that makes people more likely to try harder drugs like cocaine and heroin.

The amount of THC in marijuana has gone up in recent years. Most leaves used to contain between one and four percent THC. Now most have closer to 7 percent. Experts worry this might make it easier to become dependent on or addicted to marijuana. It also strengthens many of the drug’s mind-altering effects.

Even if you buy from a legal, state-regulated dispensary, it can be hard to know exactly how much THC or other compounds found in marijuana you’re ingesting, so the effects can be unpredictable.

Marijuana can also cause more health problems if you have a condition like liver disease, low blood pressure or diabetes.

If you’re a man, heavy use could lower your testosterone levels, and your sperm count and quality. That, in turn, can zap your libido and fertility.

Research shows a link between marijuana use and mental health problems like depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, short-term psychosis and schizophrenia. While it’s not clear if marijuana causes these conditions, it can make them worse.

 

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