The Dangers of Marijuana Essay

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THC disrupts the nerve cells in the part of the brain where memories are formed. This makes it hard for the user to recall recent events (such as what happened a few minutes ago), and so it is hard to learn while high. A working short-term memory is required for learning and performing tasks that call for more than one or two steps. Some studies show that when people have smoked large amounts of marijuana for many years, the drug takes its toll on mental functions. Among a group of long-time heavy marijuana users in Costa Rica, researchers found that the people had great trouble when asked to recall a short list of words (a standard test of memory). People in that study group also found it very hard to focus their attention on the tests …show more content…
Whatever temporary changes marijuana may produce in the immune system, they have not been found to increase the danger of infectious disease or cancer. If there were significant damage, we might expect to find a higher rate of these diseases among young people beginning in the 1960s, when marijuana first became popular. There is no evidence of that.
The effects of marijuana on the reproductive system are a more complicated issue. In men, a single dose of THC lowers sperm count and the level of testosterone and other hormones. Tolerance to this effect apparently develops; in the Costa Rican study, marijuana smokers and controls had the same testosterone levels. Although the smokers in that study began using marijuana at an average age of 15, it had not affected their masculine development. There is no evidence that the changes in sperm count and testosterone produced by marijuana affect sexual performance or fertility.
In animal experiments THC has also been reported to lower levels of female hormones and disturb the menstrual cycle. When monkeys, rats, and mice are exposed during pregnancy to amounts of THC equivalent to a heavy human smoker’s dose, stillbirths and decreased birth weight are sometimes reported in their offspring. There are also reports of low birth weight, prematurity, and even a condition resembling the fetal alcohol syndrome in some children of women who smoke marijuana heavily during pregnancy. The significance of these reports is unclear because

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