As legal restrictions are loosened around the topic of marijuana, smoking it is almost regarded as a mainstream activity, no worse than smoking cigarettes. Marijuana has returned to the spotlight in a negative way, however; athletes have used it to enhance their performance in various sports, even leading to suspensions in their given sports.
What is Marijuana?
A plant known as Cannabis or hemp is the main ingredient in weed, a toke, or whatever you call it. The plants and flowers are broken down to be smoked or they can be vaporized using an electronic device. Concentrated material from hemp is also utilized in various ways.
The most common way to use marijuana is to inhale it, but some individuals eat or drink it. Certain illicit food products are made specifically for this purpose, but the plant can be baked into goodies if you have access to it. Cannabis grows easily and rapidly, its long narrow leaves creating a telltale look which is difficult to disguise.
Grow-ops or manufacturing facilities are often home-based, highly unprofessional arrangements, in which so much electricity is consumed or stolen from surrounding homes to keep the plants warm and dry inside and out of sight that fires have been started. Homes are burnt to the ground or the damage done by a grow-op requires extensive restoration to the interior of the home and its electrical system.
What makes marijuana so addictive? It’s the essential, mind-altering substance known as THC. Reports show that the concentration of THC is several times higher today than it was when “weed” became popular during the 1960s.
Attitudes to Marijuana
Many Americans associate marijuana with the age of free love and gentle, relaxing sensations reported by people who smoked it during that time. Their perception of the drug is based on a different era when THC was not nearly as potent. They might also regard it as benign if they ate rather than smoked it because effects are less acute.
Numerous individuals rely on this plant to combat pain which has not responded to regular drugs. Its relaxing effects are said to improve the quality of life for people suffering from chronic pain due to injury, persistent headaches, fibromyalgia, and MS.
A third group of individuals never used or cares to use marijuana. In their eyes this is a gateway drug, as dangerous as alcohol and nicotine. In their opinion, youngsters who try smoking weed are more likely to end up taking other drugs such as meth, cocaine, LSD, or heroin.
All of these people are right to some extent. Weed is not usually as devastating as the other drugs mentioned here, at least as far as reported cases are concerned. Among those who admit to using it, there are rarely dramatic effects.
Effects of Marijuana
For the first one to three hours after using it, marijuana can leave its obvious mark on a person’s behavior and senses. In the best-case scenario, this is merely a feeling of quiet happiness. Users tend to be relaxed, but sometimes they become very happy and excited. In unusual cases, one might feel particularly alert which is why athletes have been known to try marijuana in small doses.
By experimenting, they have learned whether or not this substance will speed reaction times or slow them down. In very bad cases, short-term psychosis is the result of taking marijuana or a person feels anxious and paranoid. If these individuals don’t do anything silly, they will usually never want to try the stuff again.
Young people are trying weed in greater numbers as changes in attitude, celebrity associations, and the desire to take risks kick in. Early to late teens is when most youngsters do things they would deem senseless later on, but right now they don’t make good decisions.
This is more common and a more enduring feature of growing up among young males than females. Statistics show that about one third of teens in their final year of high school have admitted to trying a joint or some other method of marijuana delivery.
Consequences of Consuming Marijuana
This is where the law becomes tricky. Every state enforces its own rules about medical marijuana, although it is becoming legalized more widely. Unless one has a legitimate reason to smoke it, then being caught with THC in one’s urine or blood stream is an offense. It could result in a DUI. In the athletic world, rules are very strict.
Professional athletes who test positive for even a small amount of the drug can be suspended, even removed from a team or rejected by an organization. A history of being tested positive for the drug looks very bad in the public eye and reputations are badly injured by any drug connection.
A professional athlete can lose his career as a result of inhaling or ingesting weed which stays in the body for a long time. There are penalties for consuming masking agents and diuretics to remove traces too.