Question:

I have some questions about marijuana. What are the ingredients in pot that produce that "high", mind altering feeling that users crave and the "munchies"? Does pot use eventually lead to use of more hardcore drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, LSD, etc.? I would venture to guess that regular pot users would want bigger and longer lasting highs, so they would move on to other dangerous drugs, but I could be wrong.

I hope you don't think I'm going to start smoking pot, its just questions I'm curious about.


Answer:

The main active ingredient in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is very close, molecularly, to some of the body's chemicals called endocannabinoids, especially one that is called anandamide. These chemicals are involved in the communication between nerve cells and play a role in brain development and function. Because it is like, but not the same, THC interferes with the development and function of the brain.

"The highest density of cannabinoid receptors is found in parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement. Marijuana overactivates the endocannabinoid system, causing the high and other effects that users experience. These include distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and disrupted learning and memory." [Drug Facts: Marijuana].

Marijuana doesn't directly lead to using other drugs. What happens is that a person who is high on marijuana doesn't think clearly and makes poor decisions. While high, they are easily persuaded to try other drugs. In addition, the rationalization that allows a person to convince himself that there is no harm to smoking marijuana is easily extended to other drugs. In addition, there are drug dealers who lace their products with other drugs to increase their addictive qualities (they wanted users coming back for more). Thus, a marijuana user can be exposed to other drugs without realizing it. There are confirmed stories of PCP laced and even Meth laced marijuana being circulated.