Wat marihuana eigenlijk doet met je hersenen en lichaam


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Illustration for article titled What Cannabis Actually Does to Your Brain and Body
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Cannabis is the most popular illicit(ish) drug in the world, and it’s gaining in popularity as it becomes legal—medicinally or recreationally—in more and more states. But what actually happens in your body when you partake? Let’s take a look at this fascinating drug, its health effects, and potential concerns about using it.

Cannabis is a controlled substance…lacking in controlled, scientific research

Illustration for article titled What Cannabis Actually Does to Your Brain and Body

Before we start, we should note that a whole lot more research needs to be done in this area. Although cannabis has been used for centuries as a medicine and as an inebriant (it’s even mentioned in the Old Testament several times as “kaneh-bosem”), we don’t know a great deal about the health effects of using it. That’s because there haven’t been many controlled studies on it, due to the way cannabis is classified by the federal government.

The Food and Drug Administration classifies cannabis as a Schedule I drug, with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” (Fun fact: heroin, ecstasy, and LSD are also Schedule I drugs, but cocaine and meth are considered less dangerous Schedule II drugs.) There are two exceptions: FDA-approved drugs made from cannabidiol (CBD) with “no more than 0.1 percent tetrahydrocannabinols” are on schedule V, the same list as codeine-containing cough syrups. And hemp—defined as cannabis plants that contain less than 0.3% THC—is unscheduled thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill.

Because garden-variety cannabis is still on Schedule I, you need a license from the DEA and your study approved by the FDA. To obtain research-grade cannabis, you have to go through the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Popular Science explains. Otherwise, since it’s federally illegal to have cannabis (even in states that have legalized it), researchers working in hospitals, colleges, or other institutions that receive federal funding risk losing their funds to do this research.

There have long been movements to reclassify cannabis and open up the doors for more studies, but, for now, here’s what we do know about cannabis and our health.

What cannabis does to our brains in the first couple of hours

Cannabis contains at least 60 types of cannabinoids, chemical compounds that act on receptors throughout our brain. THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical responsible for most of cannabis’s effects, including the euphoric high. THC resembles another cannabinoid naturally produced in our brains, anandamide, which regulates our mood, sleep, memory, and appetite.

Essentially, cannabinoids’ effect on our brains is to keep our neurons firing, magnifying our thoughts and perception and keeping us fixed on them (until another thought takes us on a different tangent). That’s why when you’re high, it’s really not a good time to drive, study for a test, or play sports that require coordination, like tennis or baseball. Like alcohol, caffeine, and sugar, cannabinoids also affect the levels of dopamine in our brain, often resulting in a sense of relaxation and euphoria.

Salon explains a few more ways cannabis interacts with our brains, such as impairing our ability to form new memories, and how cannabinoids cause the classic “munchies.”

The effects will depend on the amount taken, as well as how potent the preparation is (common cannabis contains 2 to 5% THC, while ganja can contain up to 15% THC and hashish oil between 15 and 60% THC). At high doses—and if you don’t follow our advice on edible safety—cannabis can produce scary curled-up-on-the-couch-for-hours hallucinatory states.

As with other drugs, cannabis’s effects will also vary by individual. Not all people may find it an enjoyable or relaxing experience; for those who have anxiety or are prone to panic attacks, cannabis could exacerbate their symptoms rather than bring on a sense of calm.

Cannabis may have a long-term effect on memory and concentration

Illustration for article titled What Cannabis Actually Does to Your Brain and Body

The short-term effects of cannabis are generally felt within a few minutes, peak within 30 minutes, and wear off after about two or three hours. The bigger question is: what happens if we use marijuana more regularly, or are occasional but heavy users? Are there permanent cognitive and other health changes? Do we all turn into The Dude from the Big Lebowski?

Again, we don’t have many rigorous scientific studies on this, much less many longitudinal studies. A 2012 review of available research published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, found that the immediate impairments on memory and concentration aren’t likely permanent. But a 2018 review by Colorado’s public health department concluded that daily users of cannabis can have impaired memory lasting more than a week after quitting. Whether memory or other cognitive problems may last longer than that is still unclear.

Colorado also has a list of statements about the health effects of using cannabis, and a detailed list of how strong the evidence is for each statement. Evidence for most of the mental health effects is “limited” or “mixed,” but a few findings have substantial evidence behind them. They include:

  • Adolescents and young adults who use cannabis are more likely to develop psychotic symptoms and disorders like schizophrenia
  • Heavy use of smoked cannabis is associated with chronic lung problems like bronchitis
  • People who use cannabis can become addicted to it over time

Compared to other drugs, cannabis is less addictive and harmful

Addiction is a very complex topic. It’s possible for people to get addicted to anything that gives us pleasure. While cannabis addiction is real, it is a rarer addiction than other (legal or illegal) substances. Statistics say that 9 percent of people (roughly one out of 10) who use cannabis become dependent on it, compared to 32 percent of tobacco users, 20 percent of cocaine users, and 15 percent of alcohol drinkers.

Illustration for article titled What Cannabis Actually Does to Your Brain and Body

When it comes to cannabis and other substances, some say what matters most might not be how addictive the substance is but how harmful it might be. Former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders told CNN she supports legalizing cannabis, saying it “is not addictive, not physically addictive anyway.” Time reports:

As Dr. Elders also said on CNN, marijuana is nontoxic. You can fatally overdose on alcohol, heroin or cocaine, but the only way a dose of marijuana will kill you is if someone crushes you under a bale of it.

Although evidence shows that it’s possible to develop a substance use disorder, and withdrawal symptoms after stopping heavy use, cannabis has still been shown to be much less dangerous and addictive than other substances—over 100 times safer than alcohol—but that’s not to say it is completely harmless. How cannabis is consumed and prepared can make a big difference on its health effects, for better or worse, as well.

Cannabis is more dangerous for teens

Illustration for article titled What Cannabis Actually Does to Your Brain and Body

The chances of getting addicted to cannabis increase if you’re a daily user or if you start when you’re a teen. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, cannabis addiction goes up to about 17 percent in those who start using young (in their teens) and to 25 to 50 percent among daily users.

Dr. Damon Raskin, internist and Diplomat of the American Board of Addiction Medicine, advises:

Marijuana these days can cause changes in the brain that impair learning, especially in teenagers as their brains have not finished developing. Brains are not fully developed until the age of 25 or 26. Chronic marijuana use can lead to changes in both personality, judgment, and reasoning skills.

Pot damages the heart and lungs, increases the incidence of anxiety, depression and schizophrenia, and it can trigger acute psychotic episodes. Many adults appear to be able to use marijuana with relatively little harm, but the same cannot be said of adolescents, who are about twice as likely as adults to become addicted to marijuana.

Much of the marijuana available today is more potent than it was in the past, so the potential exists for it to have more intense deleterious effects on the user. Medical professionals are seeing more emergency room visits with excessive vomiting, and with adolescents, there is greater risk of psychosis and delirium.

If you’re a parent, this is another reminder to talk to your kids about drugs, especially during those formative years.

Smoking is riskier than other methods of using

Illustration for article titled What Cannabis Actually Does to Your Brain and Body

Cannabis is most commonly smoked, but it can be used in vaporizers, turned into a tea, or used as an ingredient in foods as an edible. Oils and tinctures are often made from the cannabis plant as well for medicinal purposes. Of the many ways to use cannabis, smoking seems to have the most harmful side effects. According to the American Lung Association:

Smoke is harmful to lung health. Whether from burning wood, tobacco or marijuana, toxins and carcinogens are released from the combustion of materials. Smoke from marijuana combustion has been shown to contain many of the same toxins, irritants and carcinogens as tobacco smoke.

Beyond just what’s in the smoke alone, marijuana is typically smoked differently than tobacco. Marijuana smokers tend to inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than cigarette smokers, which leads to a greater exposure per breath to tar.

Secondhand marijuana smoke contains many of the same toxins and carcinogens found in directly inhaled marijuana smoke, in similar amounts if not more.

A review of studies in 2013, however, found mixed evidence linking heavy, long-term cannabis use to pulmonary disease or lung cancer and concluded that there’s definitely a bigger risk for these if you smoke tobacco.

Still, regular users might consider other options besides smoking, such as vaping and edibles. Ata Gonzalez, CEO of G FarmaLabs, says:

Traditional methods (joints, blunts, etc), first off, aren’t the most efficient and certainly aren’t the cleanest ways to do it. These paper-based methods can be harsh on throat and lung tissue over time, potentially introduce the possibility of inhaling mold spores, and can be carcinogenic depending on what the cannabis is rolled in. Vaporizers are a much better option if you’re going to smoke it, not only because it’s much more discreet, but it introduces cannabinoids into the bloodstream as a gas through heat, rather than as smoke due to combustion. Vaping also reduces any possible exposure to harmful toxins/byproducts because the marijuana is never burned.

Conversely, there’s always the edibles option. This method is the most efficient way to get cannabinoids into the system because it’s done through the gastrointestinal tracts instead of the lungs – this also means that absorption is slower and the effects seem like they’re delayed, but that’s because the body has to process THC through the liver. The resulting effect, however, is a much more body-focused “high” that’s optimal for pain relief. Tinctures and tonics are sometimes classified in this subset/consumption category. Finally, we have topical solutions made with cannabis oil (e.g. salves, lotions, ointments, etc.) which are best used as anti-inflammatories and analgesics.

Additionally, if you partake, you’ll want to know where your cannabis came from—who grew it, how they grew it, how they harvested it, and so on. (Soon you’ll be able to buy Willie Nelson’s own brand of weed from his stores!) If you don’t know, however, consider Global Healing Center editor Ben Nettleton’s su ggestion to water cure your stuff:

Wateruitharden is in feite gewoon je spullen in water weken en het water meerdere keren verversen. Het water trekt wateroplosbare onzuiverheden weg. Dus alle resterende meststoffen, pesticiden, schimmels (recent Smithsonian raakte de prevalentie daarvan), en zelfs onschadelijke onnodige verbindingen zoals zouten en chlorofyl. Net zoals het wassen. THC is niet oplosbaar in water, dus verlies je niets van wat je wilt.

We beschouwen cannabis vaak als een hippie natuurlijke beweging, maar tegenwoordig is legale cannabis de snelst groeiende industrie in de VS — een multi-miljard dollar industrie – en de zuiverheid en kwaliteit van de cannabis kan veel invloed hebben op je gezondheid en het effect op jou.

Er zijn veel mogelijke medische toepassingen voor cannabis

Illustratie voor artikel getiteld What Canna bis Eigenlijk doet aan uw hersenen en het lichaam

Tot slot zijn er de mogelijke medicinale toepassingen van cannabis voor een breed scala aan aandoeningen. 23 Amerikaanse staten en DC hebben legaliseerde het medisch gebruik van cannabis voor de behandeling van symptomen van kanker, aids, artritis, multiple sclerose, migraine, epilepsie, misselijkheid en andere aandoeningen. 76% van de artsen ondervraagd zei dat ze cannabis zouden voorschrijven voor medicinale doeleinden. En Procon.org’s analyse van 60 peer-reviewed studies over medicinale marihuana vonden dat 68% van hen concludeerde dat behandelingen positief waren voor de behandelde aandoeningen.

Evenals bij de negatieve effecten van cannabis, is het onderzoek hier echter nog beperkt en ontbreekt. CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta , die zijn standpunt over cannabis veranderde en nu de categorisatie van cannabis als een Schedule I-medicijn in twijfel trekt, zegt dat van de recente kranten erop dat de overgrote meerderheid – ongeveer 94% – is ontworpen om de schade te onderzoeken terwijl slechts 6 % onderzoekt de voordelen van medicinale cannabis.

We blijven dus anekdotisch bewijs achter. Greta Carter , cannabisactivist, ondernemer en oprichter van een reeks klinieken vertelt Lifehacker:

Wat we weten is dat de VA duidelijk de voordelen van marihuana voor het posttraumatisch stresssyndroom heeft geïdentificeerd. We weten ook dat ouders die dagelijks hebben geworsteld met kinderen die aan epileptische aanvallen en bewegingsstoornissen lijden, hun uiterste best doen om hun gezin te verplaatsen naar staten die hen toegang tot het medicijn geven. We hebben gehoord van patiënten met aids en kanker die voordelen ondervinden van cannabis. Er zijn studies buiten de VS die aantonen dat tumoren met cannabis worden verminderd. Ik vind het onbewust dat we als land met meer dan 500 doden per jaar aan aspirine en geen aan cannabis in zijn hele geschiedenis ooit in de weg zouden staan ​​om deze plant is direct beschikbaar voor wie het ook zoekt.

Met die extreme situaties die voor cannabis pleiten, ben ik meer van mening dat cannabis voor velen een onderdeel is van het algehele welzijn. … Na meer dan 1.000 patiënten per maand (40K tot nu toe) door mijn klinieken te hebben gelopen en de gemiddelde leeftijd die elk jaar ouder wordt, gaan de verhalen die ik meer gewend ben te horen als volgt: de verouderende bevolking die binnenkomt en meldt dat ze nemen meer dan 14 soorten medicijnen (en sommige van hen zijn medicijnen om de bijwerkingen van de andere medicijnen te compenseren), in een jaar na het opnemen van cannabis komen ze terug en zijn ze terug naar 2 of 3 medicijnen en genieten ze van een betere kwaliteit van leven. Van degenen die aan verslaving aan pijnpillen hebben geleden, gebruiken ze cannabis om hun pijn te beheersen en hebben ze geen pijnstillers meer. De verhalen gaan maar door.

Tegenstanders van medicinale cannabis beweren dat het te gevaarlijk is om te gebruiken (hoewel de argumenten meestal lijken te worden geassocieerd met de effecten van roken in plaats van cannabis in het algemeen of toegediend op andere manieren), dat cannabis verslavend is en dat legale drugs cannabis overbodig maken.

Gezondheidsprofessionals en onderzoekers (en wetgevers) aan beide kanten van het debat blijven de voor- en nadelen van cannabisgebruik beweren. Wat ons gewone mensen betreft, meer dan de helft van ondervraagde Amerikanen zei dat ze voorstander waren van de verkoop van cannabis (recreatief of medisch) juridisch gezien, net als alcohol.

Zoals altijd wordt “verder onderzoek aanbevolen” (is dat niet de conclusie van alle studies?) In het geval van cannabis hebben we echter echt meer nodig. p>

Dit verhaal werd oorspronkelijk gepubliceerd in maart 2015 en werd op 29 augustus 2019 bijgewerkt met actuele informatie.

Foto’s door Nemo , Geralt , 887OS (Shutterstock), trawin , Caveman Chuck Coker , GoToVan , wackystuff . small> p> div>
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