People smoke marijuana to get a high, an‘out-of-it’ sensation. Some think that marijuana is safe because it is natural – it is made from a hemp plant called cannabis sativa. However, the plant contains many hallucinogenic chemicals, among which the most powerful is delta-9-tetrahydrocannobinal (THC). Smoking this plant and ingesting this chemical has a long list of side-effects:

  • Short and long-term memory loss
  • Obsessive appetite and weight loss
  • Paranoia and panic attacks
  • Insomnia
  • Cancer (smoking anything is a risk for cancer)
  • Damaged reproductive organs
  • Weak immune systems
  • Loss of motivation, burn-out and depression
  • Erratic heart-rate (cardiovascular failure)

Even before users notice these side effects kicking-in, marijuana smoke damages the brain as users inhale it.  After the first several ‘hits’, THC swarms the brains neurotransmitters (the parts of the brain which carry signals from the brain to the rest of the body). After enough marijuana smoke enters the body, neurotransmitters have been damaged enough to impair both a person’s depth perception and motor functions.

The more people use marijuana, the more it affects their brains. Heavy usage shrinks portions of the brain, usually the hippocampus (the section which controls memory), and the amygdale (the section which affects emotions) – causing emotional distress. Habitual marijuana-users may develop:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression, withdrawal
  • Lack of motivation
  • Severe weight gain/loss, body-image issues

But perhaps the most dangerous aspect of using marijuana is its role as a “gateway drug.” As longevity of use continues to grow, so does tolerance. That tolerance reduces the effect, and it may lead users to find more potent drugs with worse consequences.

Like every other high, marijuana high affects a person’s inhibitions. It makes users more permissive, less aware of the consequences of their actions, and thus more prone to dangerous behavior. As such, pot is also a sexual stimulant; it will make users likely to consent to having unprotected sex.