Marijuana abuse has been increasing among adults and adolescents in the US. This drug is usually found in form of dry, shredded green and brown mix of stems, flowers, seeds and leaves which is got from Cannabis Sativa. The active ingredient in the drug is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
This drug is either smoked as a pipe or a cigarette (joint). Cigars can be also emptied and the empty case filled with the drug, by itself or mixed with tobacco. When mixed with tobacco, the mixture delivers THC and nicotine and several other harmful chemicals. This drug can be also mixed with in food or mixed with tea. The drug can also come as a concentrated resin called resin. As a sticky black liquid, it is called hash oil. When smoked, the drug produces a distinctive, sweet and sour odor.
The active ingredient, THC acts upon cannabinoid receptors which in turn trigger a series of cellular reactions that lead to the person feeling "high" when they smoke the drug. These receptors are found high concentration in parts of the brain that influence memory, pleasure, concentration, thinking, sensory and time and coordinated movement.
Use of cannabis can be manifested in different ways:
Research has shown that the effect of marijuana on memory can take days or even weeks after the acute effects of the drug has worn off. For you to truly understand the effects of this drug on the population in the US, you need to look at marijuana addiction statistics which are outlined below (statistics are as at march 2012).
A reported 17.4 million Americans regularly use marijuana. This is in comparison to 14.4 million regular users reported in 2007.
More than 24% of users (4 million) can be categorized to be addicted to marijuana.
The percentage of marijuana users in America increased from 5.8% - 6.9% between 2007 and 2010. This is a 21% increase.
The percentage of youth who use this drug between the age of 12-17 years increased by 0.7% between 2007 and 2010.
It has been observed that the highest percentage of youth who use marijuana is in states which have laws on medical marijuana.
In Washington state alone, 9% of eighth graders, 20% of tenth graders and 26% of twelfth graders admit that they use marijuana.
The majority of youth who start using marijuana by the age of 13 don't go to college.
Youth admission to Washington State treatment programs accounted for 62% of admissions to treatment programs in Washington State.
Researchers in Harvard University report that the probability that someone will get a heart attack is 5 times higher during the hour after smoking marijuana.
It has been reported by the National Institute of Health that someone smoking 5 joints per week takes in as much tar and chemicals causing cancer like a person smoking a full pack of cigarettes daily.
Cannabis contains 50 - 70% more carcinogenic compounds than cigarettes. It also has high levels of an enzyme that converts particular hydrocarbons into carcinogenic forms.
Marijuana makes the immune system weak and the probability of developing lung infections is high.
As reported by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, marijuana use impairs skills related to memory, learning and attention which are critical.
The use of marijuana leads to depression and suicide thoughts. Regular use of this drug doubles the risk of depression while tripling the risk of suicide in the youth.
Use of marijuana during pregnancy can damage the brain of the fetus and cause adverse effects which can affect the cognitive and motor deficits of the person. This is according to a report by Sweden's Karolinska Institute.
The risk of involvement in crime is between 1.5 - 3.0 times more for people who use marijuana than those who don't. The greatest crime associated was on possession of the drug.
Many users of marijuana have a higher probability of associating with individuals who are anti-social, performing illegal activities as well as having a criminal record.
From the above marijuana addiction statistics, you can see the extent to which the drug has been put to use in the country.