Cannabis – What’s it all About?
Category : Health
Well, there you have it – as of October 17th, 2018, Canada has become the second country in the world, after Uruguay, to legalize cannabis. Canada took center stage and the world had its eyes riveted toward Ottawa’s decision. Most likely the world is looking to see what will happen next. Is this going to be a trend from nation to nation? Will other countries be stepping up to bat? And what does this mean for Canadians and, indeed the world?
Let’s look a little closer into cannabis, what it is, the health and social aspects to see if we can find out what this might mean for the future.
What is Cannabis?
Cannabis is derived from the cannabis plant which grows wild in tropical, temperate and pretty much any climate around the world. The main active ingredient is delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is what produces the euphoric high associated with cannabis. There are 3 forms: marijuana, hashish, and hash oil.
Marijuana: is made from dried flowers and the leaves of the cannabis plant. it is the least potent of the 3 forms,
Hashish: is made from the resin ( a gum) of the cannabis plant. it is then dried, pressed into a block form and smoked.
Hash oil: This is the most potent of the 3 forms. Hash oil is the thick oil derived from the plant. It is also smoked.
What are the Short-term Effects of Using Cannabis? (from Psychology Today)
(1) Impaired memory: While cannabis doesn’t actually seem to destroy existing memory, it can prevent us from creating new memory in our brain.
(2) Reduced anxiety: Many marijuana smokers tend to have higher incidences of anxiety than the rest of the population and they take it to lower their anxiety levels.
(3) Disruption of motor skills: so, taking marijuana could impair our ability to execute functions that require both a high level of concentration and high level of coordination together with fast reactions such as driving a car.
(4) Increased appetite; It seems that cannabis triggers the release of leptin and neuropeptide y, two appetite-stimulating hormones. So, bags of chips and marijuana appear to go hand in hand.
(5) Increased heart rate: Consuming marijuana can possibly increase heart rates per minute by up to 50% and studies have shown that heart attack risk increases by 4.8 times within an hour of consuming cannabis.
(6) Sleep patterns may be disrupted: The evidence is not clear-cut on this one. anecdotal evidence suggests that marijuana may help with sleep, while some studies suggest the opposite. One thing studies clearly show is that the rapid-eye-movement stage of sleep decreases. This is the phase during which we do most of our dreaming.
(7) Pain reduction: Historically, marijuana was reportedly used to numb pain during surgery. It seems that the cannabinoid receptors in the brain are activated and make the person less sensitive to pain. This property of marijuana is the main reason why cancer patients turn to marijuana for pain relief during cancer treatment,
More Social and Health Effects
The National Institue on Drug Abuse states that:
(1) There is a decreased level of motivation and an increased level of absenteeism (school and work) associated with marijuana use.
(2) There is an increase in the number of work accidents ( and potential job losses)
(3) Social life is adversely affected because of memory problems, slow reaction times, anxiety and panic attacks.
(4) Perception and judgment difficulties cause low achievement problems in both work and study environments.
According to Drug.com
(1) Aggression, rebellion, and poor relationships are associated with increased and chronic marijuana use.
According to The Social Impact of Drug Abuse (Jean-Paul Smith):
(1) Marijuana use can cause severe anxiety and panic attacks
(2) Marijuana use is associated with psychotic illness such as schizophrenia and also depression.
Some Marijuana Facts
(1) Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States.
(2) The oldest reference to marijuana goes back to 2727 B.C. when it was discovered and then used medicinally in China
(3) Women are more sensitive to the pain killing abilities of marijuana than men, but they are also more likely to develop a dependency.
(4) Hemp plants are the same species as marijuana plants, but they do not produce THC.
(5) The fibers of the marijuana plant are called hemp – they are extremely strong and can be made into cloth fabric and even rope to pull… statues (!).
(6) Like wine connoisseurs, there are marijuana connoisseurs.
(7) Beer and marijuana are closely related and belong to the same family of flowering plants.
(8) The air of the Colosseum in Rome, as well as the cities of Florence, Milan, Naples, Palermo, Turin, and Verona, have wafts of marijuana floating in the air along with nicotine, caffeine, and cocaine.
(9) The marijuana plant is not an eco-friendly plant. For every one pound of “pot”. 4,600 pounds of Co2 is released.
(10) Compared to cigarettes, heavily smoked marijuana does not increase lung cancer. it is actually less addictive than caffeine.
What to Think?
So, concerning marijuana, there is no lack of literature, studies, opinions and anecdotal stories. Everyone has an opinion and everyone has a concern. Many know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone that something happened to because of marijuana. There are stories of how it has helped people (with illness0 and stories of how it has destroyed lives.
One thing seems to be clear. It looks like there is no turning back, at least for Canada and Uraguay. It seems to be set in stone here. Only time will tell the real story of how it has impacted us for better or for worse.
As to the other countries of the world, it would be good to sit back and observe to see if that is the path you wish to take. Is it inevitable? I don’t have an answer to that question. It certainly is Canada’s decision for now.
What is your takeaway on this subject? How do you feel? I would love to have your feedback. Please leave a comment.
Have a great day!