HEALTH IMPLICATIONS OF CANNABIS
Cannabis, commonly known as marijuana, is usually an illegal drug in the United States. According to the National Drug and Health Research (NSDUH), in the United States last year, there were about 15.2 million users. The study also stated that approximately 2.2 million people used marijuana for the first time in 2008. This average is about 6,000 new marijuana initiates per day. Many people become addicted to marijuana, ignoring its adverse health impacts. Cannabis abuse today is a significant concern due to the adverse effects on physical, mental, and oral health in general.
There are three main types of cannabis: marijuana, a hash, and hash oil containing the main psychoactive component, “Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol”, called merely THC. Cannabis abuse affects almost every system in the body, including the cardiovascular, respiratory, mental and oral systems. Listed below are some negative aspects of cannabis abuse.
Effect on General Health
When a person smokes or consumes cannabis, THC passes the lungs & stomach to the blood stream, which carries chemicals to the brain and other organs of the body.
According to the National Institute for Drugs Abuse (NIDA), the heart rate increases from 20 to 100% shortly after smoking marijuana. It is also estimates that marijuana users are five times more likely to have a heart attack one hour after smoking marijuana. People who are older or have heart problems are also at higher risk.
Long-term smoking of marijuana is associated with adverse effects on the respiratory system. Marijuana cigarettes have the same content as tobacco smoke, except for harmful substances such as carbon monoxide. Marijuana use leads to irritation of the bronchi, tar and higher levels of other carcinogenic substances compared to tobacco smoke. Chronic cannabis smokers can also see an increase in their bronchitis symptoms.
Including coughing, severe breathing, mucous production, more frequent acute chest disease and increased risk of lung infections. Bronchitis symptoms are more common among cannabis smokers than non-smokers. Abuse of Cannabis causes a deregulated growth of epithelial cells in the lungs, which can lead to cancer.
Effect on Mental Health
The acute effects of cannabis abuse vary considerably depending on the dosage, the method of application, the environment and the personality of the user. Long-term cannabis abuse increases the risk of severe psychiatric illness.
THC impacts cannabinoid receptors found in the human brain. The highest density of cannabinoid receptors is found in the parts of the brain that affect pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, sensory and temporal perception, etc. Marijuana poisoning can lead to biased opinions, poor coordination, problematic replication and problem-solving, as well as learning and memory problems. Marijuana abuse can also increase the rate of anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and schizophrenia.
Effect on Oral Health
Cannabis users are susceptible to oral infections. In general, cannabis users have poorer oral health than non-users, with higher scores for cavities, gaps, and losses (DMF), higher scores for plaque and unhealthy gums. Xerostomia (dry mouth caused by dysfunction of salivary glands) is a significant side effect of cannabis abuse. Smoking and chewing cannabis cause changes in the oral epithelium, the term called ‘cannabis stomatitis.’ It’s symptoms include the itching and surface anesthesia of the membranous tissue that encloses the internal organs. In acute use, it can progress to neoplasia (tumor growth).
Cannabis Use Causes Oral Cancer
Chronic cannabis smokers have an increased risk of developing oral leukoplakia (a thick white spot on the lining of the mouth, including the tongue, often appears as precancerous growth), oral cancer, and other oral infections. Oral cancer that is associated with cannabis usually occurs in the mouth and tongue.
Cannabis use also affects driving skills such as motor skills, reflexes, and attention. This increases the risk for accidents. Cannabis abuse can also cause problems in daily life. Ongoing abuse of cannabis impacts lifestyle and endangers physical and mental health, cognitive abilities, social life, and professional status.
Due to the increased frequency of cannabis use, it’s vital to increase our knowledge of the various adverse effects of cannabis abuse. People need to know these effects and take quick action to avoid their negative consequences.