I pray that the blogs regarding drugs of abuse have been educational. Today we are going to take a look at marijuana. The last three blogs will cover the following:
#1 Spice (Synthetic Marijuana)
#3 MDMA (Ecstasy)
It is God’s desire that He completely sanctify every aspect of our lives – spirit, soul, and body – according to I Thessalonians 5:23. God desires to direct our thoughts, our words, and our actions – this is called being “filled with the Spirit” Ephesians 5:18.
As children of God, our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost (I Corinthians 6:19). With this in mind we are to glorify God in our bodies because our bodies belong to Him (I Corinthians 6:20). A child of God dishonors God when they introduce into their body (which belongs to God) harmful substances. These substances are not only physically and soulically harmful, but they also diminish our sobriety which in turn decreases the Spirit’s ability to completely control our lives. When we partake of any of these substances, no matter how little it may be, we start the process of becoming filled with them and less filled with the Spirit.
I pray that all of us will attempt, by the grace of God, to live a Spirit filled life and that none of these substances will ever take away the power of God in our lives.
Marijuana is a dry, shredded green and brown mix of leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. In a more concentrated, resinous form, it is called hashish, and as a sticky black liquid, hash oil. The main psychoactive (mind-altering) chemical in marijuana is delta – 9 – tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
Marijuana is the most common illicit drug used in the United States. After a period of decline in the last decade, its use has generally increased among young people since 2007, corresponding to a diminishing perception of the drug’s risks. More teenagers are now current (past month) smokers of marijuana than of cigarettes, according to annual survey data.
How is Marijuana Abused?
Marijuana is usually smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes (joints) or in pipes (bongs). It is also smoked in blunts – cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with a mixture of marijuana and tobacco. Marijuana smoke has a pungent and distinct, usually sweet-and-sour, odor. Marijuana can also be mixed in food or brewed as tea.
How Does Marijuana Affect the Brain?
When marijuana is smoked, THC rapidly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, which carries the chemical to the brain and other organs throughout the body. It is absorbed more slowly when ingested in food or drink.
However it is ingested, THC acts upon specific molecular targets on brain cells, called cannabinoid receptors. The highest density of cannabinoid receptors is found in parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movements. Marijuana overactivates the endocannabinoid system, causing the high and other effects that users experience. These include distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and disrupted learning and memory.
Effects on Life
Research clearly demonstrates that marijuana has the potential to cause problems in daily life or make a person’s existing problems worse. Marijuana use is associated with a higher likelihood of dropping out from school. Several studies also associate workers’ marijuana smoking with increased absences, tardiness, accidents, workers’ compensation claims, and job turnover. Marijuana’s adverse impact on learning and memory persists after the acute effects of the drug wear off. When marijuana use begins in adolescence, the effects may persist for many years. Research from different areas is converging on the fact that regular marijuana use by young people can have long-lasting negative impact on the structure and function of their brains.
What Are the Other Health Effects of Marijuana?
Marijuana use can have a variety of adverse short and long-term effects, especially on cardiopulmonary and mental health. Marijuana raises heart rate by 20-100% shortly after smoking; this effect can last up to 3 hours. In one study, it was estimated that marijuana users have a 4.8 fold increase in the risk of heart attack in the first hour after smoking the drug.
Because it seriously impairs judgment and motor coordination, marijuana also contributes to accidents while driving. A recent analysis of data from several studies shows that marijuana use more than doubles a driver’s risk of being in an accident. Further, the combination of marijuana and alcohol is worse than either substance alone with respect to driving impairment.
Marijuana smoke is an irritant to the lungs, and frequent marijuana smokers can have many of the same respiratory problems experienced by tobacco smokers, such as daily cough and phlegm production, more frequent acute chest illness, and a heightened risk of lung infection.
A number of studies have shown an association between chronic marijuana use and mental illness. High doses of marijuana can produce a temporary psychotic reaction (involving hallucinations and paranoia).
Associations have also been found between marijuana use and other mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts among adolescents, and personality disturbances, including a lack of motivation to engage in typically rewarding activities.
Marijuana use during pregnancy is associated with increased risk of neurobehavioral problems in babies. Consequences for the child may include problems with attention, memory, and problem solving.
Is Marijuana Addictive?
Contrary to common belief, marijuana is addictive. Many of the nearly 7% of high school seniors who report smoking marijuana daily or almost daily are well on their way to addiction, if not already addicted.
Long-term marijuana users trying to quit report withdrawal symptoms including irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety, and drug craving, all of which can make it difficult to remain abstinent.
May we strive to stay sober for the Lord and not allow any of these substances into our lives. May we also help others find freedom in the Lord from these addictive substances.