Marijuana

Effects

Central Nervous System

Bhang affects the perception of time, distance, and speed. It upsets coordination, causing unsteady hands, a change in gait, uncontrolled laughter, and a lag between thought and facial expressions. Sexual functions are disturbed.

One may suffer illusions and hallucinations, difficulty in recalling events in the immediate past, slowed thinking and narrowed attention span, depersonalization, euphoria, depression, drowsiness, lack of sleep, difficulty in making accurate self-evaluation, a lowering of inhibition, loss of judgment, mental and physical lethargy.

Heavy use over a long period of time cause permanent changes in the brain. It has been found, for instance, that the brains of young heavy users of cannabis reduce in size. The loss in brain substance is comparable to that normally found in people seventy to ninety years old. Progressive brain damage may explain the psychic changes that occur after heavy long-term use.

The respiratory system

Individuals who smoke Bhang/hashish for long periods show a tendency toward bronchitis. The lungs of bhang users are more blackened than those of tobacco smokers because, to get an effect, cannabis smoke must be inhaled deeper and held longer in the lungs. Indeed the concentration of THC in the lungs is much higher compared to the body as a whole.

Effects on the hormonal system

Studies have shown that testosterone, the most potent of the male sex hormones, is depressed in the blood of Bhang users, and reproductive function is inhibited. Sperm counts are lower and there is a decrease in sperm motility and an increase in number of abnormal sperm.


Bhang is anti-androgenic and the effects may translate into decreased libido and impaired fertility. In females, Bhang causes hormonal disruption of the female reproductive cycle, a suppression of ovarian function and disorders of menstruation.

The cell function

The recent work with perhaps the broadest implication is that which shows the effect of cannabis on chromosomes that carry the hereditary information for each cell. Normal human cells except the reproductive cells contain 46 chromosomes in 23 pairs. Long -term users of psychotropic substances have a higher number of broken chromosomes hence leading to birth of malformed offspring.

Another serious implication of the damage to cells is the suppression of immune response. Diminished immune results through the interference with genes that regulate the defense cells.

Statistics and trends

Cannabis remains the most widely used illicit substance globally, with an estimated annual prevalence in 2010 of 2.6-5.0 per cent of the adult population (between 119 million and 224 million users aged 15-64 years). Overall, annual prevalence of cannabis use remained stable in 2010 (2.8-4.5 per cent of the adult population in 2009), the highest prevalence of cannabis use being reported in Oceania (essentially Australia and New Zealand) at 9.1- 14.6 per cent, followed by North America (10.8 per cent), Western and Central Europe (7.0 per cent) and West and Central Africa (5.2-13.5 per cent). While the prevalence of cannabis use in Asia (1.0 - 3.4 per cent) remains lower than the global average, due to Asia's large population the absolute number of users in Asia, estimated between 26 million and 92 million, remains the highest worldwide.

The current use of marijuana (bhang) in Kenya is (1.2%)

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