It makes your heart beat faster and your blood pressure goes up. Smoking marijuana reduces the amount of oxygen in your body. This means every part

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2 It makes your heart beat faster and your blood pressure goes up. Smoking marijuana reduces the amount of oxygen in your body. This means every part of your body has to work harder just to do its job. Smoking marijuana irritates the mouth, throat, and lungs. If you have asthma, a cold, the flu, allergies or other respiratory problems, marijuana can make them worse. Some people become dependent on marijuana. Long-term users report withdrawal symptoms, such as, irritability, sleeplessness and anxiety. Using marijuana can have legal consequences. Marijuana is illegal in Florida and FGCU has rules about use. Know the rules and laws before you make a choice with marijuana. A positive drug test can result for quite a while (even weeks) after use because the body is slow to break down and eliminate THC. If you have to take drug tests as a part of your job or because you are an athlete, this is important to understand. Marijuana smoke, like tobacco smoke, reduces lung capacity. Tar levels are higher than tobacco. If you play sports or do physically demanding work, marijuana can impair your performance.

3 Sensory distortion Panic Anxiety Poor coordination of movement Lowered reaction time After an initial up, the user feels sleepy or depressed. Increased heartbeat (and risk of heart attack)

4 Reduced resistance to common illnesses (colds, bronchitis, etc.) Suppression of the immune system Growth disorders Increase of abnormally structured cells in the body Reduction of male sex hormones Rapid destruction of lung fibers and lesions to the brain could be permanent Reduced sexual capacity Study difficulties: reduced ability to learn and retain information Apathy, drowsiness, lack of motivation Personality and mood changes Inability to understand things clearly

5 You decide. Here are the facts: Alcohol consists of one substance only: ethanol. Marijuana contains more than 400 known chemicals, including the same cancer-causing substances found in tobacco smoke. Unlike cigarette smokers, pot smokers tend to inhale deeply and hold the smoke as long as possible to increase the effect of the drug, worsening the damage to the lungs. Alcohol is eliminated from the body in a few hours, but THC stays in the body for weeks, possibly months, depending on the length and intensity of usage. THC damages the immune system. Alcohol does not. There is no intention here to minimize the dangers of alcohol abuse, which can be equally harmful. Users, however, need to be aware that the chemicals in marijuana, some of them cancer-causing, remain in the body long after the drug is taken.

6 One marijuana joint is as damaging as seven cigarettes, according to one British Lung Foundation study. Like tobacco, marijuana is genotoxic (e.g., capable of damaging genetic material, thus creating errors in DNA replication that can eventually lead to tumor growth). The tar (condensable residue in smoke) from marijuana has 50% more carcinogens than tobacco tar. Regular cannabis smokers can develop lung problems as much as 20 years earlier than their tobacco smoking counterparts, according to a study in the journal Respirology. On average, pot smokers developed lung disease by 41 years of age, vs. 65 years of age for tobacco smokers.

7 Ever consider the effects of marijuana on your relationship? Or on your sex life, if you re sexually active? For some, sex is an anxiety-producing proposition, so they use pot to relax. Others use weed to heighten sensitivity. But, heavy, long-term marijuana use can either cause or contribute to low motivation and sex drive. Long-term use of marijuana can also affect sexual health. Marijuana has an effect on the production of testosterone and other hormones, which in turn can cause decreased sperm count, erectile dysfunction, and problems with menstruation.

8 Marijuana is widely thought to be less harmful than other drugs, mostly because people incorrectly believe that it is not addictive. But guess what more than 100,000 Americans a year seek out drug treatment specifically because of their dependence on marijuana. Jonesing : Craving for marijuana doesn t look like craving for other drugs. But just because a user doesn t resort to violence doesn t make it any less real. It is more subtle, but no less destructive. Withdrawal: Members of Marijuana Anonymous say that by far, their most common experience when stopping use was insomnia, sometimes lasting as long as a few months. Other common symptoms included depression, nightmares, and vivid dreams. Anger is also common for people who are cutting marijuana out of their life. For some, this plays out as a slow-burning rage. Others report feeling constantly irritable or prone to sudden bursts of anger.

9 Physical vs. psychological addiction: Use of any drug can lead to dependence marijuana too! People always seem relieved to hear that a substance "just" leads to psychological dependence, or has only minimal physical withdrawal symptoms. But the fact is, addiction experts today no longer distinguish between psychological and physical dependence. What matters is whether or not a drug causes un-controllable, compulsive drug seeking and use, even in the face of negative health and social con-sequences. This "drug hunger" at the core of all addiction is much more difficult to control than physical symptoms, many of which can be medically managed. Effects of addiction: At first, it can be hard to detect the effects of marijuana use on a person s life. But with continued use, the drug starts to take on a special importance. Many long-time users report that after a while, their use of marijuana started to undermine their emotional and psychological growth. It became harder for them to handle stress, and they lagged behind their peers in terms of emotional maturity.

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