The cannabis plant – where marijuana comes from – contains over 200 different cannabinoids. These chemical compounds give the plant its distinct effects, and of the various cannabinoids in its chemistry, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC produces the psychoactive effects associated with marijuana.
When inhaled as smoke, marijuana’s effects manifest almost instantly. But when taken orally, marijuana can 30 minutes to an hour before any of its effects start to show. These short term changes may vary significantly from person to person, but some of the more common effects include:
- Increased appetite
- Altered perception of time
- Heightened sensory perception
- Loss of inhibitions
- Deficits in through processes
- Drowsiness or sleepiness
- Anxiety and fear
- Hallucinations and delusions
Smoking marijuana will manifest effects for around 1 to 3 hours after use, while consuming it may produce a much longer lasting high. Once the effects start to wane however, marijuana can remain in your system for weeks or more, depending on how much you took.
Although the short term effects of marijuana tend to vary from person to person, the euphoric feeling and the heightened sense of well-being may be reason enough for most of those who try the substance to repeat its use. And while it is possible for most people to stop using marijuana without any trouble, there are others who develop a dependence.
This happens when an individual takes too much marijuana too often. The body becomes accustomed to the constant presence of the substance, which is why a person might not feel ‘normal’ without marijuana. When this happens, withdrawal symptoms may occur, making the individual feel sick, unwell, and unable to perform typical duties and responsibilities.
Some of marijuana’s long term effects may include:
- Lack of motivation
- Weight gain
- Paranoid behavior
- Troubled relationships
- Intimate partner violence
- Financial turmoil
- Increased tendency to commit crimes
- Increased risk of exploring other narcotics
- Difficulty finding and keeping jobs
- Impaired thinking and learning ability
- Decline in IQ
A marijuana dependence will push a person to keep using the drug in order to avoid the symptoms of withdrawal. But with the use of the substance comes the whirlwind of effects that it has on personality, mood, cognition, and motor skills. So as a person becomes more and more dependent on the drug, the less capable they become of functioning at home, work, and within the society.
This makes it difficult for an individual with a marijuana dependence to keep a job, which may trickle into the financial aspect of his or her life. And it goes without saying that the altered personality and cognition may also impact the way they interact with others around them. Unable to properly relate with people within their social circle, it’s highly likely for a marijuana abuser to experience relationship stress.
With impaired cognitive functioning, decision making skills, and thinking skills, individuals with a marijuana dependence are also more likely to commit crimes. Stealing becomes a viable solution to resolve financial problems, and provides a means in order to secure the next dosage. Vehicular accidents and domestic violence are also highly common among marijuana abusers.