How Does Marijuana Affect You?
IN THIS ARTICLE
Medical marijuana is now legal in a majority of states. A small but growing number of states and cities have legalized recreational pot as well. Marijuana still is the most commonly used illegal drug in the U.S.
Marijuana has some well-proven benefits, including relief for long-term pain. But smoking marijuana can have some bad effects on your health, including making breathing problems worse.
The federal ban on marijuana makes it hard to study its effects on humans. For example, very little research exists on edible marijuana.
Marijuana comes from the dried flowers of cannabis plants.It has more than 500 chemicals. Cannabis can have a psychoactive -- or mind-altering -- effect on you.
This is the main psychoactive agent in marijuana. Its full name is delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol. When you smoke cannabis, THC goes from your lungs into your bloodstream and then into your brain. It stimulates the part of your brain that responds to sources of pleasure, like food and sex. That lets loose a chemical called dopamine, which causes the high.
THC’s effects can vary depending on who you are, the potency of the strain, whether you smoke it or eat it, and other things. It can:
Give you a relaxed sense of well-being
Heighten your senses, like make colors seem brighter
Change your sense of time
Make you anxious, afraid, or panicked
Make you hallucinate
Also called cannabidiol, this is another well-studied compound. It doesn’t make you high. Instead, it can counteract the effects from THC and bring you down from any paranoia or anxiety. It also has been found to have beneficial uses in treatment the side effects of chemotherapy and treating epilepsy.
Ways to Use It
You can get cannabis into your body in two main ways: smoking and eating.
Smoking. This, along with inhaling (vaping), is the fastest way for marijuana to work. Your bloodstream carries the THC to your brain so quickly that you may start to feel high within seconds or minutes. The amount of THC in your blood typically peaks in about 30 minutes, then tapers off in 1-4 hours.