Reflections - Definition of Addiction Types
Marijuana refers to the leaves, flowers, and extracts of the plant Cannabis sativa and several closely related species commonly known as hemp. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States and is known by a large variety of names including cannabis, pot, weed, grass, hash, and many others. It is grown widely across the globe and is the only major recreational drug grown within the US. In addition to positive and negative intoxicating effects, marijuana abuse can also have negative effects on an individual’s physical and mental health, especially in someone who uses marijuana for a long period of time.
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Long-term detrimental effects of marijuana may include:
- Respiratory problems: Marijuana smoke has many of the same irritating and lung-damaging properties as tobacco smoke. Long-term users may develop a chronic cough and are at higher risk of lung infections.
- Cardiovascular risk: Marijuana ingestion increases the heart rate for several hours, increasing the chance of heart attack or stroke. This may aggravate pre-existing heart conditions in long-term users and those who are older—placing them at greater risk of a cardiovascular event.
- Mental effects: Long-term marijuana use can decrease an individual’s performance on memory-related tasks and cause a decrease in motivation and interest in everyday activities. Marijuana is also known to intensify symptoms in users with schizophrenia.
- Child development: Marijuana use during pregnancy can affect the development of the fetus’s brain and has been linked to behavioral problems in babies.
- Psychological dependence: Like most other drugs of abuse, individuals who use marijuana for long periods of time can develop a dependence on it. Signs of dependence in a user include the need to use marijuana to cope with everyday tasks and the experience of cravings and anxiety when marijuana is not available.
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