Cannabis sativa, commonly known as marijuana, has been used for centuries by shamans and mystics of various cultures for its psychoactive properties. In the United States and many other countries, it is an illegal substance. Although technically a plant, it is classified as a drug because of the effect it has on the human metabolism, when the leaves of the plant are smoked or otherwise ingested.
The active chemical in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC. When the smoke is inhaled, THC enters the lungs and passes quickly into the bloodstream. Blood carries him through the body to the brain and other organs. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), research on the long-term effects of continuous consumption of cannabis in the brain has given inconclusive results. Although brain imaging studies of chronic users tend to show consistent changes, some relationship between these alterations and deterioration of cognitive functions is also unclear.
How the THC
THC affects specific points in the brain called cannabinoid receptors, by activating cellular reactions that cause the user to experience the euphoria associated with marijuana. These cannabinoid receptors are found primarily in parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, concentration, physical coordination and perception of time and sensory stimuli. Stimulation of these receptors impairs coordination, problem solving and memory.
Effects on metabolism
One of the primary effects that cannabis has on metabolism is the heart rate. In fact, inhalation of marijuana increases heart rate from 20 to 100 percent. This increase can last up to three hours. For this reason, NIDA notes that marijuana smokers have a significantly increased risk of myocardial infarction in the first hour after smoking. Marijuana can also cause fluctuations in heart, such as palpitations and arrhythmia rhythm.
Another way in which cannabis affects metabolism is increasing appetite user. Marijuana smokers sometimes refer to this effect as “cravings”. Its effect on appetite was initially observed in a study on the effect of THC in Alzheimer’s patients, indicating that THC affects metabolism by stimulating the appetite. This property has led to the use of cannabis to treat cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, which causes nausea and loss of appetite.