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Marijuana – Mechanism of action, side effects. Should marijuana be legalized?


Marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug in the world.
It causes euphoria and relaxation, that’s why it is used for recreational purposes.
Marijuana’s main action is caused by its component called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
It is responsible for psychoactive effects of marijuana..
Tetrahydrocannabinol acts on cannabinoid receptors in the brain.
Human has widespread cannabinoid receptors in the brain and peripheral tissues, known as the endocannabinoid system. They participating in humans metabolism to keep homeostases.
Cannabinoid acts like stop signal for cell receptors.
Imagine, small town, populated with different people. And you have stop signal.
If you say stop to thief, and he will stop stealing of course it is good. And u get decreased criminal rate in the town.
But if u say stop to policemen, and he will stop working against criminals. Criminal rate will increase in the town.
We have such regulatory stop signals in the body. Endogenous cannabinoid play this role. It is called for retrograde neurotransmission.
Here, a post-synaptic neuron releases endocannabinoids, that bind to predominantly CB1 receptors, on the presynaptic neuron.
This binding, inhibits presynaptic calcium channel; and subsequently inhibits presynaptic neurotransmitter release.
If, the presynaptic neurotransmitters are predominantly inhibitory, such as GABA, the net effect is excitatory. and if neurotransmitters are predominantly excitatory; we get inhibition.
Marijuana has similar action as endogenous cannabinoids.
Marijuana’s main component, Tetrahydrocannabinol, is lipid soluble, so it can easy reach to brain. and have psychotropic effect.
Binding to the different parts of the central nervous system, mediates different psychotropic properties of cannabinoids, in particular THC. These areas and end-effects include;

• Hippocampus: impairment of short-term memory
• Neocortex: impairment of judgment and sensation
• Basal ganglia: altered reaction time and movement
• Hypothalamus: increased appetite
• Nucleus accumbens: euphoria
• Amygdala: panic and paranoia
• Cerebellum: ataxia
• Brainstem: anti-emesis
• Spinal cord: analgesia.

The consumption of cannabis causes combination of relaxation and euphoria, commonly referred to as a “high.”.
when cannabis is smoked, THC quickly diffuses to the brain, and it effects occurs within seconds to minutes.
By contrast, eating cannabis; The “high” occurs later but lasts relatively prolonged, lasting 5 to 8 hours or even longer.
Use of cannabis has its health risks: Adverse Health Effects of Marijuana Use .
The most common emergency, caused by marijuana ingestion is a panic attack.
Long-term adverse effects may include addiction, decreased mental ability in those who started regular use as adolescents, and lowered intelligent coefficient.
Chronic coughing, bronchitis and susceptibility to respiratory infections, and cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, which means nausea and vomiting, and cramping abdominal pain that sometimes occurs due to prolonged, high-dose cannabis use.
Use of cannabis increases risk of schizophrenia and psychosis.

Average 20 % of marijuana users develop addiction and dependency. Withdrawal symptoms include: sleep problems, irritability, dysphoria, and craving, they are not as severe as in case of alcohol withdrawal.
Image credits:
By https://www.scientificanimations.com/http://www.scientificanimations.com/wiki-images/, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=69771323
By Images are generated by Life Science Databases(LSDB). – from Anatomography, website maintained by Life Science Databases(LSDB).You can get this image through URL below. 次のアドレスからこのファイルで使用している画像を取得できますURL., CC BY-SA 2.1 jp, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7887124

By Lim S-J, Fiez JA and Holt LL – Lim S-J, Fiez JA and Holt LL (2014) How may the basal ganglia contribute to auditory categorization and speech perception? Front. Neurosci. 8:230. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2014.00230 http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnins.2014.00230/full, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44994759


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