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Best Physical Therapy's Health Information Library

Here, we have gathered health articles on almost every major subject in healthcare. Please explore, enjoy, and share this free resource provided by Best Physical Therapy

Marijuana

What is marijuana?

Marijuana is a green, brown, or gray mix of dried, crumbled parts from the marijuana plant. The plant contains chemicals which act on your brain and can change your mood or consciousness.

How do people use marijuana?

There are many different ways that people use marijuana, including

  • Rolling it up and smoking it like a cigarette or cigar
  • Smoking it in a pipe
  • Mixing it in food and eating it
  • Brewing it as a tea
  • Smoking oils from the plant ("dabbing")
  • Using electronic vaporizers ("vaping")
What are the effects of marijuana?

Marijuana can cause both short-term and long-term effects.

Short term:

While you are high, you may experience

  • Altered senses, such as seeing brighter colors
  • Altered sense of time, such as minutes seeming like hours
  • Changes in mood
  • Problems with body movement
  • Trouble with thinking, problem-solving, and memory
  • Increased appetite

Long term:

In the long term, marijuana can cause health problems, such as

  • Problems with brain development. People who started using marijuana as teenagers may have trouble with thinking, memory, and learning.
  • Coughing and breathing problems, if you smoke marijuana frequently
  • Problems with child development during and after pregnancy, if a woman smokes marijuana while pregnant
Can you overdose on marijuana?

It is possible to overdose on marijuana, if you take a very high dose. Symptoms of an overdose include anxiety, panic, and a rapid heartbeat. In rare cases, an overdose can cause paranoia and hallucinations. There are no reports of people dying from using just marijuana.

Is marijuana addictive?

After using marijuana for a while, it is possible to get addicted to it. You are more likely to become addicted if you use marijuana every day or you started using it when you were a teenager. If you are addicted, you will have a strong need to take the drug. You may also need to smoke more and more of it to get the same high. When you try to quit, you may have mild withdrawal symptoms such as

  • Irritability
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Decreased appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
What is medical marijuana?

The marijuana plant has chemicals that can help with some health problems. More states are making it legal to use the plant as medicine for certain medical conditions. But there isn't enough research to show that the whole plant works to treat or cure these conditions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the marijuana plant as a medicine. Marijuana is still illegal at the national level.

However, there have been scientific studies of cannabinoids, the chemicals in marijuana. The two main cannabinoids that are of medical interest are THC and CBD. The FDA has approved two drugs that contain THC. These drugs treat nausea caused by chemotherapy and increase appetite in patients who have severe weight loss from AIDS. There is also a liquid drug that contains CBD. It treats two forms of severe childhood epilepsy. Scientists are doing more research with marijuana and its ingredients to treat many diseases and conditions.

NIH: National Institute on Drug Abuse

Measles

Measles is an infectious disease caused by a virus. It spreads easily from person to person. It causes a blotchy red rash. The rash often starts on the head and moves down the body. Other symptoms include

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Feeling achy and run down
  • Tiny white spots inside the mouth

Sometimes measles can lead to serious problems. There is no treatment for measles, but the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine can prevent it.

"German measles", also known as rubella, is a completely different illness.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Meningitis

Meningitis is inflammation of the thin tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, called the meninges. There are several types of meningitis. The most common is viral meningitis. You get it when a virus enters the body through the nose or mouth and travels to the brain. Bacterial meningitis is rare, but can be deadly. It usually starts with bacteria that cause a cold-like infection. It can cause stroke, hearing loss, and brain damage. It can also harm other organs. Pneumococcal infections and meningococcal infections are the most common causes of bacterial meningitis.

Anyone can get meningitis, but it is more common in people with weak immune systems. Meningitis can get serious very quickly. You should get medical care right away if you have

  • A sudden high fever
  • A severe headache
  • A stiff neck
  • Nausea or vomiting

Early treatment can help prevent serious problems, including death. Tests to diagnose meningitis include blood tests, imaging tests, and a spinal tap to test cerebrospinal fluid. Antibiotics can treat bacterial meningitis. Antiviral medicines may help some types of viral meningitis. Other medicines can help treat symptoms.

There are vaccines to prevent some of the bacterial infections that cause meningitis.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Metabolic Disorders

Metabolism is the process your body uses to get or make energy from the food you eat. Food is made up of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Chemicals in your digestive system break the food parts down into sugars and acids, your body's fuel. Your body can use this fuel right away, or it can store the energy in your body tissues, such as your liver, muscles, and body fat.

A metabolic disorder occurs when abnormal chemical reactions in your body disrupt this process. When this happens, you might have too much of some substances or too little of other ones that you need to stay healthy. There are different groups of disorders. Some affect the breakdown of amino acids, carbohydrates, or lipids. Another group, mitochondrial diseases, affects the parts of the cells that produce the energy.

You can develop a metabolic disorder when some organs, such as your liver or pancreas, become diseased or do not function normally. Diabetes is an example.

Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine - meth for short - is a very addictive stimulant drug. It is a powder that can be made into a pill or a shiny rock (called a crystal). The powder can be eaten or snorted up the nose. It can also be mixed with liquid and injected into your body with a needle. Crystal meth is smoked in a small glass pipe.

Meth at first causes a rush of good feelings, but then users feel edgy, overly excited, angry, or afraid. Meth use can quickly lead to addiction. It causes medical problems including

  • Making your body temperature so high that you pass out
  • Severe itching
  • "Meth mouth" - broken teeth and dry mouth
  • Thinking and emotional problems

NIH: National Institute on Drug Abuse