Physical and Psychological Effects of Marijuana

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Marijuana while illegal on a federal level has been legalized in 18 states and the District of Columbia for medical use and also for personal use for anyone over 21 in Washington and Colorado. 48% of Americans admit to using marijuana according to a 2013 survey conducted by Scientific America. With the change in public opinion concerning marijuana the need to understand the effect and consequences associated with its use are vitally important. What are the effects on the brain and the rest of the body? Does it matter when you start using marijuana? Also what is the effect marijuana use has on a person’s life, to include school, work, family and friends.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse marijuana causes the user to
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By comparison, those who never smoked pot had an average increase of one IQ point by the same age. (Scientific America, 2013)” However when the data was reanalyzed by Ole Røgeberg of the Ragnar Frisch Center for Economic Research in Oslo he suggested the IQ difference could be explained by socioeconomic factors. The effects of marijuana on the brain are still being studied as science approaches a clearer understanding.
The effects of marijuana on the body, while originating from the brain, are more evident. Various physical symptoms include an increased heart rate that may increase by as little as 20 beats per minute or as much a double the users resting heart rate. The heart rate returns to normal after approximately 20 minutes. The eyes also exhibit a drop of pressure accompanied by the sclera becoming bloodshot and dilation of the pupils. A dryness in the mouth also referred to as “cotton mouth” and a sensation of hot or cold typically felt in the hands and feet however the sensation can be sometimes felt throughout the entire body. Finally a relaxation of the muscles accompanied by tiredness (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2013).
When a person begins to use marijuana during the formative years of adolescence a study was conducted in 2011 which compared the results of adolescents who began using marijuana prior to the age of 15 with adolescents who began using at the age of 15 and a control group who never used
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