Cannabis Topical Project (#8-11)

Cannabis Topical Project (#8-11)

Let me introduce you to my friend, Steve. Steve is a chronic marijuana smoker who smokes at least 3 separate times in a day but swears he’s not addicted to marijuana. I am going to prove otherwise. When Steve is running low on supply or when he runs out, Steve gets very irritable and anxious and only worries about when the next time he will get new inventory. When Steve is in a time of being “dry”, or absence of herb, he produces mild withdrawal symptoms that include: irritability, anxiousness, headaches, insomnia, anger, loss of appetite, and marijuana cravings. This is because Steve has built up a tolerance for marijuana and Steve’s body now depends, or has a dependence, on marijuana in order for his body to achieve homeostasis. Every time Steve “takes a hit”, he is reinforced with the desirable effects that marijuana has on the body and mind and Steve now has a psychological addiction.

Now how can we prevent Steve’s problem? The first step to prevention starts with the parents. Start early! One of the key reasons why children avoid drugs is because their parents don’t approve of them. So talk to your child at a young age and express a no use attitude. Ask what he/she has heard about marijuana and offer facts, risks, consequences, new laws and regulations, and even your own experiences; but be careful not to glamorize the drug. Teach and practice skills to refuse drug offers (Walker, Haggerty). If the first step fails, the next step might be for an intervention to get him/her to stop using marijuana or to enter into treatment. After he/she fails to stop abusing marijuana after an intervention, seek professional help or enroll in a marijuana recovery facility. My recommended action is to find a referral through www.recovery.gov and speak to a caring addiction helpline advisor to seek addiction treatment (Recovery).

 

 References

Evans, Benjamin (2013). Marijuana Effects on the Brian. Retrieved from http://www.thehumanbrainproject.org/marijuana-effects-brain/

Smith, David E., M.D. (1968). Acute and Chronic Toxicity of Marijuana. Retrieved from http://www.drugtext.org/Cannabis-marijuana-hashisch/acute-and-chronic-toxicity-of-marijuana.html

Marijuana Anonymous (1992). Detoxing from Marijuana. Retrieved from https://www.marijuana-anonymous.org/literature/pamphlets/detoxing-from-marijuana

 Recovery.org (2014). Find the Best Residential Marijuana Recovery Center. Retrieved from http://www.recovery.org/topics/marijuana-recovery/

Walker, L. R., Dr. & Haggerty K., Dr. (2013). A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Underage Marijuana Use. Retrieved from http://learnaboutmarijuanawa.org/parentpreventionbooklet2013.pdf

SAMHSA (2014). Tips for Teens: Marijuana. Retrieved from http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content//PHD641/PHD641.pdf

National Institute on Drug Abuse (2014). DrugFacts: Marijuana. Retrieved from http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana

NORML (2014). Industrial Use. Retrieved from http://norml.org/marijuana/industrial

DEA Museum (2014). Cannabis, Coca, & Poppy: Nature’s Addictive Plants. Retrieved from http://www.deamuseum.org/ccp/cannabis/history.html

 Narconon International (2014). History of Marijuana. Retrieved from http://www.narconon.org/drug-information/marijuana-history.html

Drug Policy (2014). A Brief History of the Drug War. Retrieved from http://www.drugpolicy.org/new-solutions-drug-policy/brief-history-drug-war

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2014). DrugFacts: Nationwide Trends. Retrieved from http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/nationwide-trends

NCSL. (2014). State Medical Marijuana Laws. Retrieved from http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/state-medical-marijuana-laws.aspx

Gfroerer, J. C.; Wu, L.; Penne, M. A. (2002). Initiation of Marijuana Use: Trends, Patterns, and Implications. Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/data/mjinitiation/mjinitiation.pdf

ProCon.org. (2014). Should Marijauan Be a Medical Option? Retrieved from http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cannabis Topical Project (#4-7)

Cannabis Topical Project (#4-7)

When marijuana is administered, either by inhalation or consumption, the main psychoactive chemical (THC) enters the bloodstream which then carries the chemical to the brain. When THC enters the brain it binds itself to cannabinoid receptors, which are part of a neural communication network called the endocannabinoid system- responsible for normal brain development and function. When THC binds to these receptors, the user will experience a “high” because these cannabinoid receptors are associated with pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement; overexciting the endocannabinoid system producing effects of altered perception and mood, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and disrupting learning and memory (Evans).

Marijuana does have causes for concern. The acute toxicity of marijuana are as follows: dry mouth, redness of the eyes, daily cough, phlegm production, increased heart rate, the feeling of euphoria, time and spatial distortion, motor impairment, memory impairment, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, panic, and even psychosis. The chronic toxicity of marijuana is as follows: a psychological dependence, loss of motivation, memory loss, loss of appetite, and increased risk for severe psychosis such as schizophrenia. Although marijuana has no physical dependence, one can produce a psychological dependence. This can be easily described as an every day smoker becoming anxious if “weed” is not available; but it can become very difficult for a user to quit with all the withdrawal symptoms associated with marijuana. Withdrawal symptoms associated with marijuana include: sweating, depression, insomnia, anger, anxiety, headaches, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and a constant craving for marijuana. This psychological dependence is disruptive in that the user tends to ignore personal and social responsibility such as school, work, health, personal hygiene, etc (Smith).

Although marijuana is a schedule 1 illegal drug, people are still striving to change this classification on the basis that marijuana does in fact have medical purposes. Many have called for the legalization of marijuana to treat symptoms like pain and nausea caused by HIV/AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, epilepsy, and other conditions. The FDA, to this date, won’t legalize marijuana because marijuana is believed to have a very high potential for abuse and clinical evidence has not shown that therapeutic benefits of the marijuana plant outweigh its health risks (ProCon).

 

 

Cannabis Topical Project (#1-3)

Cannabis Topical Project (#1-3)

Marijuana is a mixture of shredded dried flowers, stems, and leaves from the plant Cannabis sativa. The main psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana is the chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC (NIH DrugFacts: Marijuana). When marijuana is smoked, THC travels from the user’s lungs and into their bloodstream. From there, the THC ends up in the user’s organs and brain where the THC binds to nerve cell receptors. When these nerve cells are in the part of the brain that governs sensory perception and pleasure, this is the marijuana “high” users perceive (Evans). Marijuana can also come in many forms. The most common form is to smoke loose marijuana. This can be done by putting the buds in a pipe or rolling it in a cigarette. Hash oil is another form of marijuana and is the refined oily extract of the cannabis plant. Hash oil is more potent than loose marijuana. The most concentrated and potent form of cannabis containing high levels of THC is called Hashish, or hash. Hash is derived from the dried resin of the plants flowering tops and is compressed into balls, cakes, or sticks. Marijuana can even accomplish the task of baking its THC into the fats of certain foods for another form called edibles (DEA Museum). Lastly, marijuana can take the form of hemp. Hemp is a tall, slender, fibrous plant that contains less than 1% of the active ingredient THC. Hemp can be utilized for the making of textiles, paper, paints, clothing, rope, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, installation, animal feed and other products (NORML).

Cannabis is nothing new to us. Cannabis use can date back as late as 2737 B.C. It originated from china as a medication but quickly started to globalize itself. After china, its use spread to India then to North Africa and reached Europe for the purpose of recreational use. After Europe, Cannabis spread to the western hemisphere where the Spaniards imported it for fiber. This is where Cannabis obtained its nickname, Marijuana. The Spaniards then brought it to North America in the form of hemp where we then began to grow it in plantations for its many uses (Narconon International).

If we look at the usage of Marijuana from the past years to the present, we see a gradual increase in the number of users to date. Why is that? When looking at statistical graphs on marijuana usage, I see a consistent repeated trend. Marijuana use was at its peak between 1970-1980 and then began to decrease dramatically until about the 1990’s where it began a steady increase (Gfroerer, Wu, Penne). 

This is because, in 1971, President Nixon declared the “War on Drugs” and from this point, anti-drug adds were running, as well as drug education programs, and people were being incarcerated (Drug Policy). Times are changing and statistics will be the first to show that. Now marijuana usage is at a steady increase and becoming more socially acceptable. Colorado and Washington will be the first one’s to tell you this; being the only states to legalize recreational/medical marijuana followed by 19 other sates that legalized marijuana for strictly medical purposes (NCSL).