Legal Cannabis Drug Overview?
With the recent news and publicity about cannabis getting decriminalised (but not, I stress actually legalised) in South Africa. There is no real legal position or delineation for or with the use of cannabis. (dagga, marijuana, weed, dope) Further, there are no limitations or age restriction laws or controls, as there is for alcohol.
It’s a thorny issue. See:>>Using Cannabis an overview from one of South Africa’s top Psychiatrists<<
Traditionally cannabis has been seen as a “natural herb”, less harmful and healthier than the more seriously regarded illicit heroin or cocaine type drugs. Though much drug literature and research suggest that cannabis use is likely to precede the use of other substances. Any form of unregulated cannabis use can potentially be a dangerous gateway to further and more serious drug use.
Cannabis use is linked to other substance use disorders, including but not limited to nicotine addiction. Cannabis is more available practically at a commercial level with its legalisation throughout much of the world.
For for a number of years market demand, differentiation and mixes with other drugs (see SA sourge of nayope/woonga) the potency and effect of THC in marijuana has been extensively adapted and increased by experimentation, splicing and manipulation by “scientists” in professional and home labs.
The Cannabis Experience
The Good The Bad and The Ugly?
Many people experience a pleasant euphoria and sense of relaxation. Other common effects, which may vary dramatically among different people. These include heightened sensory perception (e.g., brighter colours), laughter, altered perception of time, and increased appetite.
Pleasant experiences with cannabis are by no means universal. Instead of relaxation and euphoria, some people experience anxiety, fear, distrust, or panic. These effects are more common when a person takes too much, or if the cannabis has an unexpectedly high potency, (as is very much the case presently), or the person is inexperienced.
People who have taken large doses of cannabis may experience an acute psychosis, which includes hallucinations, delusions, and a loss of the sense of personal identity. These unpleasant but often temporary reactions are distinct from longer-lasting psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, that may be associated with overuse or the use of marijuana in vulnerable individuals.
Together with a greater potency of the drug come higher dangers. Today, cannabis contains more THC than ever before. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of at least 113 cannabinoids identified in cannabis. THC is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis. Consider this only one problem, as cannabis also contains another 400 extra chemicals.
Knowing all this, how can cannabis be considered as safe, secure and natural to burn and inhale the results?
Consequences of Cannabis?
The short-term consequences of using marijuana will compromise the memory, the ability to understand and reduce problem-solving abilities. Smoking cannabis increases the heart rate, it increases the appetite, it causes dry skin, it can result in paranoia and anxiety, and also causes respiratory problems, weakens the immune system, and can cause cancer.
Once cannabis is smoked it moves directly to the lungs then to the blood vessels, then to the brain and other organs. THC distorts the brain’s receptors, particularly the cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are responsible for an individual’s concentration, memory, pleasure, coordination, and understanding of time. This means that individuals who partake in cannabis usage frequently are probably not working at their greatest intellect because it does affect brain function.
It is proven through research that heavy cannabis smokers miss more work, are late more often, have more about the job accidents, apply more jobs, and put in greater workman’s comp claims compared to one who doesn’t smoke cannabis.
Cannabis will and does have the potential to be addictive and people continue to abuse cannabis despite the fact that they are aware or sometimes blissfully unaware that it’s harmful.
Research shows the younger the user is when they start they are twice as likely to become addicted as an adult. The longer someone abuses cannabis and the longer they use will determine the length of withdrawal and symptoms they’ll endure while attempting quitting.
Stopping the Drug Habit
When cannabis users try to stop using. It’s extremely probable that they will suffer with a loss of appetite, insomnia, irritability, depression, and anxiety. There is also an imminent demand for more of the drug that’s the cause of several unsuccessful attempts at quitting. These symptoms of withdrawal generally appear daily among abstaining. They can last up to two weeks.
These studies do not stop with the mental harm that smoking cannabis can be associated with. Depression, stress and even schizophrenia are examples but, further damage may be done to the body. The lungs are exposed as cannabis smoke contains carcinogens which will be very harmful to the lungs. There is also little doubt that cannabis misuse does lead to problems in an individual’s everyday life.
Is it Gateway Drug?
It is important to note that other factors besides genetic mechanisms. A person’s social environment, are also critical in a person’s risk for drug use generally. An alternative to the gateway-drug hypothesis is that people who are more vulnerable to drug-taking are simply more likely to start with readily available substances such as cannabis, tobacco, or alcohol, and their subsequent social interactions with others who use drugs increases their chances of trying other drugs.
What Can be Done?
What might be the most important aspect to consider is the fact that there is help available to quit using and smoking cannabis. People who have smoked cannabis for a long period will have a harder time quitting successfully. Many will attempt several times. There are effective techniques to quit smoking marijuana and to get your life back on course again and begin living productively once more.
We are at present researching work for our next article. This will be more focused on the potential good and medical benefits of Cannabis from professionals who advocate it.
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