Cannabis isn't just the most abused illicit drug in the United States (Gold, Frost-Pineda, & Jacobs, 2004; NIDA, 2010) it is in reality the most abused illegal drug globally (UNODC, 2010). In the United States it is a schedule-I substance which means that it is legally considered as having no medical use and it's highly addictive (US DEA, 2010). Doweiko (2009) explains that not all cannabis has abuse potential. He therefore suggests utilizing the frequent terminology marijuana when referring to cannabis with abuse potential. For the sake of clarity this terminology is employed in this paper as well.
To know more about Cannabis
Now, marijuana is in the forefront of global controversy debating the appropriateness of its prevalent illegal status. In most Union states it has become legalized for medical purposes. This tendency is called "medical marijuana" and can be closely applauded by advocates while concurrently loathed aggressively by rivals (Dubner, 2007; Nakay, 2007; Van Tuyl, 2007). It's in this context that it was decided to choose the subject of the pharmacological and physical effects of marijuana for the cornerstone of this research article.
What is marijuana?
Marijuana is a plant more correctly referred to as cannabis sativa. As stated, some cannabis sativa plants don't have abuse potential and therefore are called hemp. Hemp is used broadly for various fiber products such as newspaper and artist's canvas. Cannabis sativa with abuse potential is what we call marijuana (Doweiko, 2009). It is interesting to note that although widely studies for many decades, there's a great deal that researchers still don't know about marijuana. Neuroscientists and biologists understand exactly what the consequences of marijuana are but they still don't fully understand why (Hazelden, 2005).
Deweiko (2009), Gold, Frost-Pineda, & Jacobs (2004) point out that of approximately four hundred understood compounds found in the cannabis plants, researchers understand of over sixty that are considered to have psychoactive effects on the human brain. The most well known and powerful of these is â??-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Like Hazelden (2005), Deweiko states that while we know lots of the neurophysical effects of THC, the reasons THC produces these effects are uncertain.
As a carcinogenic chemical, THC directly affects the central nervous system (CNS). It impacts a massive assortment of neurotransmitters and catalyzes other biochemical and enzymatic activity also. The CNS is stimulated while the THC activates specific neuroreceptors in the brain resulting in the various physical and emotional reactions that are going to be expounded on more especially further on. The only substances that may activate neurotransmitters are substances that mimic chemicals that the brain generates naturally. The fact that THC stimulates brain function educates scientists that the brain has natural cannabinoid receptors. It is still unclear why people have natural cannabinoid receptors and how they work (Hazelden, 2005; Martin, 2004). What we do understand is that bud will excite cannabinoid receptors as much as twenty times more knowingly than any of their body's natural hormones ever might (Doweiko, 2009).
Perhaps the biggest puzzle of all is the relationship between THC and the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin receptors are among the very stimulated by all psychoactive medications, but most notably nicotine and alcohol. Independent of bud's connection with the chemical, dopamine is currently a little known neurochemical and its supposed neuroscientific functions of function and functioning are still largely hypothetical (Schuckit & Tapert, 2004). What neuroscientists have discovered liberally is that marijuana smokers have quite high levels of serotonin activity (Hazelden, 2005). I would hypothesize that it can be this association between THC and serotonin that clarifies the "marijuana maintenance program" of achieving abstinence from alcohol also allows marijuana smokers to avoid painful withdrawal symptoms and prevent cravings from alcohol. The efficacy of "marijuana maintenance" for aiding alcohol abstinence is not scientific but is still a phenomenon I have personally witnessed with many clients.
Interestingly, marijuana mimics a lot of neurological responses of other drugs that it is extremely difficult to classify in a certain class. Researchers will put it in any one of these categories: psychedelic; hallucinogen; or serotonin inhibitor. It has properties which mimic similar chemical reactions as opioids. Other chemical reactions mimic stimulants (Ashton, 2001; Gold, Frost-Pineda, & Jacobs, 2004). Hazelden (2005) classifies marijuana in its own unique category - cannabinoids. The reason for this confusion is that the complexity of the many psychoactive properties found within marijuana, both known and unknown. 1 recent client I saw could not recover from the visual distortions he endured as a consequence of pervasive psychedelic usage provided that he was still smoking marijuana. This appeared to be as a result of the psychedelic properties found in active cannabis (Ashton, 2001). Although not strong enough to create these visual distortions on its own, marijuana was strong enough to stop the brain from recovering and healing.
Cannibinoid receptors are located throughout the brain thus affecting a wide array of functioning. The most crucial on the emotional level is the stimulation of the brain's nucleus accumbens perverting the brain's natural reward facilities. Another is the fact that of the amygdala which controls one's emotions and anxieties (Adolphs, Trane, Damasio, & Damaslio, 1995; Van Tuyl, 2007).