Marijuana is most commonly known as a combination of the dried buds found in the Cannabis Sativa plant. There are many ways of using the plant such as eating, vaporizing, smoking, brewed, and tons more, however the most common method remains smoking the plant in some sort of pipe-like device.
The chemical that provides for that intoxicating fuzzy-feeling is called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. This chemical reacts with various neurotransmitters within our brain to produce the high we feel when we use marijuana. The average THC content of marijuana has soared from less than one percent in the early seventies, all the way to nearly thirteen percent in the past five to ten years. Some marijuana has been reported to reach THC levels of nearly thirty percent.
A recent poll found that one in eight people smoked marijuana regularly while forty three percent of U.S. adults have admitted to trying it. These numbers have steadily increased throughout the past fifty years and remain on the rise with the legalization of the plant.
Marijuana reacts with several of the same pleasure-chemical centers in the brain that can be targeted by other drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and alcohol. Marijuana can produce a feeling of euphoria, or what most refer to as the “high” which is strengthened or weakened depending on the quantity, quality and method of consumption. When smoking as opposed to other methods, the high is stimulated in the brain almost instantly. This is because our brain is naturally wired to receive and break down THC. After smoking, many report a feeling of overwhelming calmness and strengthened sensory perception. This is followed by an altered perception of appetite leading the user to get what is referred to commonly as the “muchies”.
Although marijuana use through smoking can cause similar respiratory problems experienced by tobacco smokers, the incidence of more serious diseases such as cancer and asthma remains low.
A recent study found that there may be a link between genetics and marijuana use. This suggests that some may have a predisposition for the drug which may or may not lead to addiction.
Marijuana has many amazing benefits and little to argue against it. With the country and world legalizing the plant and becoming more and more comfortable with recognizing its health benefits, the world of cannabis will only continue to grow.