EFFECTS OF MARIJUANA

Many users describe two phases of marijuana intoxication: initial stimulation, which includes giddiness and euphoria, followed by sedation and pleasant tranquility. Mood changes are often accompanied by altered perceptions of time and space. Thinking processes become disrupted by fragmentary ideas and memories. Many users report increased appetite, heightened sensory awareness, and general feelings of pleasure.

Negative effects of marijuana use can include confusion, acute panic reactions, anxiety attacks, fear, a sense of helplessness, and loss of self-control. Chronic marijuana users may develop amotivational syndrome characterized by passivity, decreased motivation, and preoccupation with taking drugs. Like alcohol intoxication, marijuana intoxication impairs judgment, comprehension, memory, speech, problem-solving ability, reaction time, and driving skills.

The effects of long-term marijuana use on the intellect have not been established, and there is no evidence that marijuana causes brain damage. Smoking marijuana can damage the lungs, however, and long-term use may increase the risk of lung cancer. Although marijuana is not physically addicting and no physical withdrawal symptoms occur when use is discontinued, psychological dependence develops in some 10 to 20 percent of long-term regular users.