Is Pot Making You Insane? - Alpha Male Nation
Ever since the beginning of time, man has been known to use all sorts of ways to escape the constraints of reality. His ‘go to’ choices were usually the substances which relaxed his body and mind at the same time, especially those which either were themselves or contained forms of alcohol and narcotics. In most recent years, a great deal of attention has been directed towards pot (also known as weed or marijuana) as a recreational drug, with as many supporters and detractors advocating for its harmless and, respectively, damaging effects on humans. Hence, the need to settle once and for all one of the most important questions has arisen: is pot making you insane?
As you can imagine by now, answers are mixed and no consensus has been reached as of yet. This is due to the fact that the tensions are mainly between regular users and those who wish to see this (medicinal) drug completely banned everywhere. Even so, there are enough scientific researches and firsthand accounts to draw an overall picture of pot’s action upon individuals and how much of this influence is either bad or beneficial (from a variety of standpoints).
What is pot?
Pot is the popular name given to the Cannabis plant (hemp), which is collected and then processed so as to be smoked, vaporized, eaten, or prepared as tea. This plant is considered a drug since it alters the brain’s perception of reality, which is why medical figures view it as a psychoactive drug. While some of its positive effects have been encouraged both in medicine and recreational activities, pot is still illegal to possess and use in the majority of the world’s states.
The earliest uses of cannabis can be traced through as far back as 10 000 years ago, when people probably used it to extract fibre and create fabrics and garments out of it. More recently in history – approximately in the first century AD – recordings of medicinal marijuana usage have been found in Chinese manuscripts. These advocated that cannabis seeds and leaves could be used for a variety of problems, from stomach issues to hair loss and even as a form of anaesthesia. In addition, the flowers would be employed to alleviate menstrual pains and various wound inflammations, while oil extracted from the stem would be applied as a medicinal cure for throat sores and discomfort. As can be seen, the cannabis plant saw successful utilization both inside and outside the human body. Even so, these ancient doctors warned against excess, since they mention the loss of balance and hallucinations produced by cannabis (as they put it, ‘seeing demons’). Other historical references to cannabis can be traced to Egypt, Greece, India, and the Islamic world, with similar pharmaceutical attributions.
While its medicinal usage continued well into the 19th century, pot is considered nowadays as a harmful substance and is often referred to as a ‘gateway’ drug (which leads to the administration of more potent substances in time). As can be guessed, people still use it illegally, with cannabis, hashish, and marijuana markets growing exponentially all around the world in recent decades.
Pot comes in many ‘shapes and sizes’, though the same names can be given to various subtypes of this drug. For instance, marijuana constitutes of dried flowers and leaves pertaining to the female Cannabis plant, while kief is the powder produced from these. When compacted into small cakes that produce a specific type of resin, kief becomes hashish (or hash). In addition, more concentrated forms of pot can be seen in tinctures or hash oil, which are then used on their own or in various infusions.
The most popular way of using pot is through smoking it in bongs (small or large water pipes) or blunts (cigarettes), which vaporize the cannabinoids and makes them easier to enter the individual’s system. The second place is taken by actual vaporizers, which only heat, but don’t burn the plant when releasing its active ingredients. More unpopular, yet still applied methods of cannabis consumption are drinking (in teas) or eating – the now infamous ‘pot brownies’, which have been introduced into popular culture mainly by American movies focusing on college students and their endeavours into recreational drugs.
What are the main uses of pot?
As previously pointed out, pot has a longstanding history of both medicinal and recreational uses in a multitude of cultures from around the world. Furthermore, it has also been attributed to spiritual and religious ceremonies, mainly because of its hallucinogenic effects. As a result, here are the most popular forms of weed employment, as gathered from both historical accounts and contemporary records:
- Medical – while ancient medicine used the cannabis plant for basically any internal and external infliction, modern medical figures have sought the calming and relaxing effects of pot as a method of alleviating the serious effects of diseases such as cancer. More specifically, cannabis has been used to reduce vomiting and nausea caused by chemotherapy treatments, as well as to help reduce muscle pain and spasms. Other popular attributions include those of regulating appetite for people who suffer from HIV/AIDS, treating rheumatoid arthritis, and even some types of neurological issues (multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, etc.). However, a lack of extensive research of this drug’s long term side effects has made many doctors be wary of prescribing it to patients.
- Recreational – whether smoked, vaporized or ingested, pot generally leads to mildly euphoric states of the consumer, which is where the popular denomination of ‘stoned’ or ‘high’ came to be. What is more, weed also has substantial effects on the brain, by being a psychoactive – altering the neurological perception of the senses – and physiological as well. These consequences are a result of the cannabinoids compounds reacting with the brain’s own receptors and neurotransmitters, thus altering responses to pain and movement, alongside the normal course of memory storage. Most cannabis users attribute pleasant and calming effects to this drug, which would explain its growing popularity across the world.
- Spiritual – there are historic readings which show the usage of the cannabis plant in spiritual rituals dating back 2 000 of years, mostly on the Asian continent (particularly in Nepal and India). It was employed in religious and shamanic rituals, which is why nowadays it has a sacred status in numerous religions. For instance, Rastafarian adepts rely on cannabis for assistance during meditation and even as an element of sacrament. Other confessions which employ cannabis into their ritualistic proceedings are Hinduism (consuming the flowers as a form of purification), Buddhism (as an alternative to liquid intoxicants), and Sikhism (to keep the believer’s mind from God).
What are the general effects of using pot?
While the majority of pot users will testify to predominantly relaxing and pleasant outcomes, between 20-30% of them claim to have at least once experienced notoriously negative side effects such as panic attacks and severe cases of depersonalization. Even so, these forms of impact vary from individual to individual, which is why an all-encompassing and completely accurate description of cannabis influence cannot be conducted. As previously pointed out, pot has a variety of effects both on the body and the mind of the consumer, as follows:
- Physiological (somatic) effects – the most prominent effects of pot consumption (regardless of the ingestion method of choice) are commonly the appearance of bloodshot eyes (alongside reduced intra-ocular pressure), dry mouth, increased heart rate, rapid relaxation of the muscles, and an alternating sensation of hotness/ cold in the extremities. These effects generally kick in within the first half an hour of usage and may last up to several hours (depending on the person and type of cannabis employed). Furthermore, chronic pot smoking can lead to lung issues and can also have potent carcinogenic outcomes, as well as produce severe heart problems (cardiomyopathy, myocardial infarction, etc.).
- Psychological (neurological) effects – when a person gets ‘high’ or ‘stoned’, he or she is actively experiencing the influence cannabinoid receptors have on the brain, namely that of disturbing the body’s normal levels of dopamine and other neurotransmitters (those responsible for the control of anxiety and euphoria, for instance). As a consequence, the intoxicated person can end up experiencing a variety of side-effects, including (but not limited to):
- stress reduction (complete relaxation of the mind and organism)
- increased self-awareness, even episodes of paranoia
- loss of balance and coordination
- noticeable euphoria and perturbed grasp of immediate reality
- significant modifications of conscious perception
- increased chances of developing powerful anxiety and/ or panic attacks
- distorted time perception
- inability to store short-term memories
- installation of philosophical, abstract patterns of thinking
- elevated joviality and ‘friendliness’ towards others
- enhanced memory recollection (also known as ‘episodic memory’)
- heightened or even maximized sensuality and libido
- elevated hunger levels (the popular ‘marijuana munchies’)
- predilections to enjoy music and comedy differently than usually
- altered body image perceptions
- visual and auditory hallucinations
- dissociation (detachment from immediate emotional and physical experiences), depersonalization (anomalous self-awareness), derealisation (the world doesn’t appear real anymore), etc.
From what can be seen, pot utilization can have serious repercussions on its users, especially in which concerns neurological operations and proper functionality. While the recreational effects can feel good momentarily, the long-lasting influence of pot is incontestable.
Firstly, smoked pot will have the same carcinogenic effect as normal cigarettes, as well as constituting an enhancer in which concerns heart diseases, liver problems, and vascular damage. The most obvious deterioration is at the level of the neurological system, where it impairs cognitive functions on a multitude of levels, from distorted reality to inability to see oneself as a person anymore. Persistent administration of pot will ultimately lead to a permanent state of intoxication, besides notable impairments of memory, attention, and focusing abilities of the subject in question.
Pot – best friend or ultimate foe?
The consumption of pot and its various derivates has been the subject of many contemporary discussions, which evaluated almost every aspect of this recreational drug, from its immediate effects to its medicinal potential and negative influence on individuals alike. A consensus was never reached, mainly because those who have started using this substance will not (or maybe cannot) renounce its hallucinogenic and ‘feel good’ implications, despite being highly aware of the downsides it involves.
One major problem in deeming pot as either definitely ‘good’ or definitely ‘bad’ is the fact that it has distinct effects, depending on the person using it. Where one set of people will feel ecstatic, jovial, and probably a bit famished, others will feel like they are going insane, with reality crumbling all around them and their senses failing them completely.
The fact that pot is illegal in most countries is not helping either, in the sense that it becomes a very exciting and tempting option for young people especially. As a result, becoming addicted to pot at an early age will most likely speed up the installation of more serious illnesses, not to mention render that person incapable of functioning adequately in society.
The best advice regarding pot usage is, as with any other thing in life, moderation. As the name suggests, it can be used from time to time as a recreational hallucinogen, small quantities of it producing the same mild effects as alcohol, for instance. Nevertheless, this should be conducted only if you haven’t experienced any negative effects of weed consumption in the past (such as panic attacks or derealisation). Again, pot can and is actively used in medicinal treatments, as alleviation to various sicknesses.
On the other hand, excessive pot smoking will definitely transform you into a ‘pothead’ or ‘stoner’, terms which are essentially derogatory enough for you to understand that this is clearly not a productive or even enjoyable way of living your life further on. So, if you are of age and in possession of any type of pot, weigh your options carefully before engaging in this sort of activity because one hour of pleasure might turn out into a lifetime of problems.