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How Marijuana Affects the Body and Mind

marijuana plant budEver since medical marijuana became legal in California, there have been a variety of new experiments for delivering the drug to the body. Some people like to smoke it the old-fashioned way, while others are more creative about it. Edibles are always a popular choice, while vaporizing and “dabbing” are becoming much more mainstream. Some even like to make a tea out of marijuana leaves.

No matter how it’s ingested, marijuana and, more specifically, THC, affect you much in the same way. THC is the active chemical that gives users the feeling of being high, and it specifically interacts with the brain, as well as other parts of your body. Here’s how marijuana affects the mind and body, both positively and negatively.

The Physical Effects

For most applications, THC begins affecting the body right as it is ingested. (For edibles, it takes a while longer for the stomach to break the food down and send the THC into the bloodstream.) From there, the chemical is taken to every organ in the body, and it increases heart rate, can increase bleeding and can even increase blood sugar levels. People who choose to smoke pot instead of using other methods will also notice irritation in the lungs, though no definitive link has been made between weed and lung cancer.

Of course, there are other side effects that are most often associated with smoking pot. The most common is a seemingly insatiable hunger. That’s because the neurons that control your appetite are suppressed by THC. Other side effects include dizziness, bloodshot/itchy eyes and dry mouth. For men, marijuana can lower testosterone levels, eliminating your libido, and can even decrease sperm count.

The Mental Effects

The main reason people use marijuana, besides its medicinal benefits, is to get high and feel good. There are two main strains of marijuana: sativa and indica. Sativa gives to a “mental high.” That is, it makes you productive and gives you energy. Indica, on the other hand, is what most people think of when the think of weed. It makes you lethargic and is a great aid for insomnia. The most common kind of marijuana available are hybrids of these two.

However, pot can have some less than desirable mental effects. It can give you the feeling that time is slowed down, which can be very stressful. In addition, it can make you feel paranoid or anxious. For those who suffer from depression, weed can often exacerbate the issue. For college students, pot can be especially detrimental, as it can take a toll on short-term memory. Those these effects usually disappear with your high, they can become long-term issues.

Using Marijuana in California

Currently, the only way to legally use marijuana in California is to have a prescription from your doctor. Even then, it is still a federally outlawed drug — though there is very little reason to worry about the Drug Enforcement Agency getting involved. If you’ve been caught illegally possessing or using marijuana in California, depending on the situation, it could be a felony or misdemeanor. In any case, your best option is to contact an experienced attorney to represent you in court. Contact our offices today to learn more. Your initial consultation is free.

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Stephen Levine, is a Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Defense — an honor achieved by only the top criminal law attorneys in California. Mr. Levine has over 40 years of experience in criminal defense and family law serving Southern California, and is a highly regarded Super Lawyer as well as AV Rated attorney.