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Smoking marijuana

Marijuana smoke has a pungent and distinctive, usually sweet-and-sour, odor. And when consumed, marijuana is usually smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes (joints) or in pipes or water pipes (bongs). It is also smoked in blunts-cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with a mixture of marijuana and tobacco.

But what does smoking marijuana do to you? Is it good or bad for your health?  Can you become addicted physically to marijuana? We review here, and invite your questions about smoking marijuana at the end.

Does smoking marijuana work or get you high?

Not always. Some people feel nothing at all when they smoke marijuana. Others may feel relaxed or “high.” however, euphoric effect is a difficult experience to standardize or describe, with individual and subjective reactions.  Some smokers can experience sudden feelings of anxiety and paranoid thoughts (even more likely with stronger varieties of marijuana).

What does smoking marijuana do to you?

When marijuana is smoked, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) rapidly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream. At this point, the psychoactive chemical is carried to the brain and other organs throughout the body. Once it crosses the blood-brain carrier, THC acts on specific molecular targets on brain cells, called cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are ordinarily activated by chemicals similar to THC that naturally occur in the body and are part of a neural communication network called the endocannabinoid system. This system plays an important role in normal brain development and function.  Is it the interaction with the nerve cells that causes your mind and body to react to THC.

However, smoking marijuana has been associated with diseases of the liver (particularly with co-existing hepatitis C), lungs, heart, and vasculature. While significant tobacco-adjusted association between marijuana smoking and lung cancer development have not been identified (despite evidence of precancerous histopathologic changes of the respiratory mucosa), some studies indicate increased rates of cancer and others do not. The studies do indicate increased prevalence of pre-cancerous changes in the user’s airways.

Smoking marijuana side effects

Like smoking tobacco, smoking marijuana may cause:

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  • coughing
  • depressed immunity to disease
  • lung diseases
  • trouble breathing

One study showed that marijuana smoking doubled or tripled the risk of developing cancers of the head or neck. Marijuana also may be associated with the development lung cancer. In fact, marijuana smoke may contain up to 50-70%t more cancer-causing compounds than does tobacco smoke.

Smoking marijuana on tin foil

Marijuana, typically sold in baggies is occasionally smoked on tin foil and is purchased by a diverse group of individuals at open-air drug markets, at private residences, in nightclubs, and on college campuses. But is it safe to smoke marijuana on tin foil? The foil is so thin that it actually burns out and you inhale the burning aluminum foil. According to the scientists, when you put aluminum into your bloodstream, this can lead to Alzheimer’s.

Is smoking marijuana bad for you?

Yes, smoking marijuana is bad for you. Advocates of medical or recreational marijuana tend to play down its bad effects. While eating marijuana in the form of oil, in cooking, or as a standardized THC pill can be less harmful in the long run than smoking, there are still adverse side effects to the long term use of marijuana.  And no matter how it is consumed, using marijuana can lead to other serious problems that affect health, safety, relationships, and welfare. These consequences are compounded when you mix marijuana with alcohol or other drugs, and can include:

  • anxiety, panic attacks, and paranoia (being excessively suspicious and/or distrustful of others)
  • distorted perception
  • loss of coordination
  • problems with memory and learning
  • reduced ability of the immune system to fight disease
  • trouble with thinking and problem solving

Can you smoke marijuana?

Exposure to marijuana has biologically-based physical, mental, behavioral and social health consequences. The decision on whether or not you use marijuana will always be a personal one.  However, keep in mind that eating or orally ingesting marijuana helps lower risk of respiratory problems or disease.

Got an opinion or a question about smoked marijuana? Need help for marijuana addiction? Please leave your comments in the section below. We’ll do our best to respond to you personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: NIDA: Drug facts – Marijuana
Womenshealth: Smoking and How To Quit
NDIC: Marijuana
Wikipedia: Cannabis smoking

Photo credit: Smokers High Life

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