Although illegal, marijuana (also known as cannabis) is widely smoked and has attained a degree of social acceptability. While many people believe that marijuana is a benign drug which promotes relaxation, there are several known detrimental side effects. Tetrahydracannabinol (THC), which is found in marijuana, is an immunosuppressive substance. Heavy users can suffer from a variety of immune deficiency diseases. There is also evidence of disruption of the reproductive system of both men and women who habitually smoke marijuana, probably resulting from inhibition of pituitary hormone secretion. The process of ovulation, the menstrual cycle and sperm production are inhibited as a result. Impaired short-term memory is also suffered by many chronic users.

The plant has been used beneficially for glaucoma treatment and pain relief.


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