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Weed & Opium Effects

Published: December 19, 2013
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I actually have two questions. The first question is "does smoking weed cause cancer? (Throat, lung and other) and the second question is about opium. What are the effects of it and the different ways of using it?
Signed: Weed & Opium Effects

Dear Weed & Opium Effects,

 

It is hard to say for certain that regular marijuana use causes cancer, but it is known that that marijuana contains more cancer-causing agents than in found in tobacco smoke. In a study, scientists from University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) found that tar in marijuana smoke contains higher concentrations of substances called hydrocarbons than tar from tobacco smoke does. These hydrocarbons are a key factor in promoting human lung cancer.

Marijuana deposits more tar in the respiratory tract because marijuana smokers hold the smoke for longer periods of times in their lungs, the smoke is not filtered and users generally smoke the joints down to a small butt.

Some of the difficulty showing the link between cancer and marijuana occurs because most marijuana smokers also use cigarettes, or use tobacco as an ingredient in a "joint." But, it is reasonable to assume that over time, marijuana could contribute to the development of cancer.

 

Opium is derived from a white liquid produced by the poppy plant. Opium is a drug that serves as the source of several legal (codeine and morphine) and illegal (Heroin) drugs. Drugs made from or containing opium are known as opiates or narcotics.

Narcotics bind to painkilling sites throughout the brain known as opioid-U receptors or the "reward pathways". This leads to slower uptake of neurotransmitters, like dopamine between neurons. Immediate effects include stopping pain, drowsiness, and a feeling of well being associated with pain reduction. With chronic use, the brain may stop producing endorphins, natural pain killing chemicals, and the user develops tolerance. The user must replace the missing endorphins with narcotics in order to feel good and avoid withdrawal. The user needs increasing amounts of the drug use to feel good, Eventually this leads to dependence.

Opium comes in dark brown chunks or powder and is usually eaten or smoked.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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