..This just in...
all the talk about marijuana can start to sound like old news, or seem like a television rerun. And
it's easy to think that you've heard it all before.
where we come in. Because this pamphlet isn't a rerun. It's more like a "This
just in" bulletin or a special report on one of the channels
we usually channel-surf past on cable, or a really high-number
UHF station on regular TV.
us THC-TV. Or the Mystery
it does take a lot of detective work to sort out the facts
and the fictions about pot today. And it is a real mystery
why so few people even bother to try.
this program -- er, pamphlet -- we'll look closely at
the latest facts about marijuana, and
consider what those facts could mean for you.
when we're finished, you'll be better able to make up your own
mind about marijuana, and have a better idea what to do about
it in your life. Because, like it or not, you will have to do
something about it -- one way or another, sooner or later, if
you haven't had to choose already.
stick around. We'll be right back after these words...
the years, marijuana has made quite a name for itself -- several
of them, in fact.
been called everything from "killer weed" to plain old "weed,"
"pot," "grass," "bud," and "reefer."
no matter what you call it, all the names and nicknames refer
to the same thing: the flowering tops and leaves of a plant known
scientifically as cannabis.
grows naturally all over the world (except places like Death
and the North
and it's been used for centuries to make everything from bird seed to rope.
that's not the reason it's so well-known.
reason that marijuana is so talked-about today (and the reason
we're talking about it at all) is because it contains a mind-altering
drug known as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
fact, marijuana plants are like little green factories that churn
out THC all day, every day.
if they didn't, nothing else would.
is produced in only one place in all of nature: in the flowers and leaves of cannabis.
just because THC is the chemical that causes most of the drug
effects of marijuana, that doesn't mean it's the only one. In
fact, marijuana smoke is made up of at least 420 different chemicals.
scientists who study it full-time aren't sure of all the ways
all those chemicals affect the mind and body. Still, they keep
at it, anyway.
the process, they've blown away a lot of the myths (and the smoke) that's
swirled around marijuana for centuries.
now that things are finally starting to clear, we're ready to
move in for a closer look -- after this break.
don't touch that dial! (Or even this
..Tricks & THC
you want to imagine THC
you have to start by thinking small.
the way it is, anyway, when it enters the body as tiny particles
in marijuana smoke, mixing with oxygen in the lungs, where tiny
blood vessels (called capillaries) pull it into the bloodstream.
there, THC gets shuttled to more places than a Salesman-of-the-Year
with frequent-flyer miles -- moving to every part of the body,
doing different things in different places.
the brain, THC hooks up with some
of the electrochemical
that direct the way we think and feel.
people like these changes, but others -- especially inexperienced
-- sometimes find being stoned confusing or scary.
No one knows for sure. It probably has a lot to do with how fast
THC goes to work and how different people experience and interpret
all the effects it produces in all of the body systems it works
there are universal effects, things that happen to everyone who
effect that seems to hit everyone equally is a distorted sense
that ordinarily seem to pass by in a couple of minutes may seem
to take hours.That may be one of the reasons why pot smokers
sometimes find it hard to concentrate.
is also affected, which means that doing even simple things,
like following instructions (or the plot of a "Gilligan's
Island" rerun on good old THC-TV), can start to seem awfully complicated.
if remembering simple things gets complicated, just imagine how
hard it gets remembering seriously complex stuff -- like the
answers to the exam or quiz you thought you studied for the night
big deal, though, of course -- not to the serious stoner, caught up in the throws
of true, pot-assisted pretzel logic.
hey -- you know, even if you fail all your exams this year, you
can still take them all over again next year.
you gonna eat those chips?
it trucks around the bloodstream, THC does more than play tricks
on the brain. It puts the body through a lot of changes, too
-- and they may last a lot longer than you might think.
because some of the chemicals in pot stay inside the body and
brain long after drug effects wear off. In fact, some hang around
for weeks after use.
sure how big a deal that is, but we do know that some measurable
problems have been noted in physical and mental skills as long
as 24 hours after smoking.
a lot is known about some immediate effects in the body, including
increases in both heart
although these changes don't seem particularly risky for healthy
people, they can be a bigger problem for those with heart or
may be even more problems in other parts of the body -- the immune
system, for example. Problems here could make it tougher to fight
off colds and infections.
are also changes in body chemicals called hormones, which direct
how fast and how much your body changes and develops as you grow
the latest news from the lungs seems even worse.
fact, marijuana seems just as harmful to the lungs as tobacco.
And for people who smoke pot and cigarettes, the chances
of getting cancer later in life are higher, still.
did you think they called it getting high, anyway?
spite of all the new facts we've bumped up against in preparing
this report, one old fact about marijuana hasn't changed much,
at all: It's still against
in most places -- especially at school.
you add that to its other risks, you may just come to the same
conclusion that millions
of other people
have come to: that pot's more of a risk than it's worth.
while we still don't know everything there is to know about it (Heck,
we don't know everything about air or water,
for that matter), we know enough to safely say that a lot of
people -- including kids, pregnant women, and people with emotional
-- are better off as far away from it as possible.
from our sponsor
that we promised a while back. Because the fact is you really
do only have one body -- and the healthier you keep it, the better
it'll take care of you and the happier you'll be.
when you stop and think about it, isn't happiness what it's all supposed
to be about in the first place?