Here's Why Your Weed Smoking Friend Acts Crazy
We all learn at a young age that drugs are bad, but the extent of health issues they cause? Terrifying.
Even the deemed "normal" drugs like marijuana have serious effects on health for heavy users down the road.
Marijuana and Memory Loss
In a recent study, researchers used magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] technology to analyze the brains of 67 different, former marijuana users. They were looking to see if heavy marijuana use was linked with abnormal brain structures, which would ultimately lead to poor memory.
The researchers found something else. The brain structures of marijuana users closely resembled those of schizophrenia patients.
"The study links the chronic use of marijuana to these concerning brain abnormalities that appear to last for at least a few years after people stop using it," said Matthew Smith, lead study author and assistant research professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences. He went on to say, "With the movement to decriminalize marijuana, we need more research to understand its effect on the brain."
Cocaine and the Brain
When it comes to the highly addictive drug, cocaine, the brain starts to adapt almost immediately as dopamine receptors alter so severely, they nearly diminish the sensitivity that comes with natural rewards of the dopamine system. Naturally important for conditioning and motivation, the alterations develop with addiction as dopamine receptors decrease substantially.
Cocaine is infamous for leading to irritability, restlessness, panic attacks, and paranoia-- in the lesser extents of use. The more serious results-- such as full-blown psychosis-- result when the user loses touch with reality and begins to experience auditory hallucinations. The risk of adverse psychological and physiological effects increases as users begin to take on cocaine binges, and many, tragically, result in death.
Heroin and the Heart
Opiates are among the most powerful-- and dangerously so-- painkillers. Most, including Vicodin, OxyContin, and Codeine, are manufactured as analgesic pharmaceuticals. Others, including heroin, are primarily illicit drugs. All, though, are classified as opiates. Heroin is a substance processed from morphine, which acts as a depressant which inhibits the central nervous system.
The long-term effects of heroin, as well as other opiates, includes collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, cellulitis, and as if that's not enough to scare you away forever, it also causes liver disease. The pulmonary conditions like pneumonia, for example, arise due to poor health, and common additives and contaminants clog blood vessels that lead to lungs, liver, kidneys, and the brain. How inviting!
Even more scarily so, heroin is grouped with alcohol in the way that it acts as a central nervous system depressant-- increasing the risk of respiratory failure.