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The Health Effects of Marijuana on Humans Tim Murphy Introduction Marijuana has been used as a drug since the beginning of time yet there are still many mysteries about its health effects on humans Marijuana or cannabis sativa is a preparation of the crushed flowers and buds of female hempGood Paper 4 pages long B plant The existence of the plant has been reported as early as 1500-1200 BC in China and cannabis has been described as an analgesic as early as 200 AD Since then an overwhelming number of studies have attempted to explain the physical and psychological effects ofGood Paper 4 pages long B cannabis on humans Physical Effects Physically cannabis is relatively harmless Studies have observed interesting results including that it causes structural changes in the brain depresses male sperm counts causes chromosome damage lowers testosterone levels and damages the lungs Most of these claims however have been unreplicated in humans or have been contradicted by other work This section will address each of these reported negative side-effects Various studies have claimed that cannabis destroys brain cells However several other studies found no structural or neurochemical atrophy in the brain at all Furthermore it should be noted that Heaths work was sharply criticized for avoiding safeguards of bias and reporting changes that occur normally in the mammalian brain Wu et al found a correlation between cannabis use and low sperm counts in human males This is misleading because a decrease in sperm count has not been shown to have a negative effect on fertility and because the sperm count returns to normal after cannabis use has stopped Another claim made was that cannabis causes chromosome breakage The primary source for this are studies that were conducted by Dr Gabriel Nahas in the early 1980s Nahas observed abnormalities in somatic not
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