COVID-19 and African American Deaths
After the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic, every country started applying different measures to stop its spread and treat people. Health officials in New Orleans realized that African American low-income neighborhoods are hot spots for the virus.
As a result, officials started using a different strategy, sending mobile vans for testing in these areas. People were offended by this racial strategy. The latest data shows that the death ratio of African Americans is three times higher than that of white people.
The American Public Media (APM) nonpartisan research laboratory has released its new figures titled “Colors of Coronavirus”. This report offers evidence of an astounding divide in death rates, due to COVID-19, between African Americans and the remaining people.
In the country, the death rate for black Americans is 50.3 in every 100,000 people, which is more than double, when compared to other people: 22.7 in Asian Americans, 22.9 in Latinos, and 20.7 in Americans in general. Over 20,000 African Americans have died in the USA from this disease.
The Statistics Are Different in Each State
Limited national data is available to track outcomes of COVID-19 by race, local municipalities and states started sharing their numbers one by one. The major hotspots of the disease are Louisiana, Illinois, and New York. In Louisiana, 70% COVID-19 deaths are among African Americans.
In Michigan almost 14% of the population was infected, and the death rate is 40%. Moreover, the death rate in Chicago is 56%, with 30% of the total population infected. The death rate among black people in New York is two times higher than that of white people.
The Trump administration has had a lazy response to this crisis. The disparities are clearly reflected in the data available. Lack of guidance from the Federal Government is becoming another problem. Unfortunately, the government has no plan to deal with this situation.
Racial Tracking of COVID-19
Data collection of the COVID-19 pandemic can be divided by race or ethnic group. Deaths from Coronavirus in African Americans are two times higher than that of the remaining population. In the previously mentioned four states, the rate is three times higher.
Why Are Black Americans at a Disadvantage?
African Americans face higher rates of underlying health conditions, such as lung disease, heart disease, and diabetes; these conditions are associated with severe Coronavirus cases, leading to more deaths.
Unfortunately, black Americans lack access to treatment and diagnostic testing for the disease. According to Nunez Smith, these people have limited access to good health care facilities, despite making up a disproportionate part of frontline job workers – as a result, their exposure to the virus is increased.
Several reports highlight that this pandemic hit black Americans more severely. Comorbidities, such as diabetes and hypertension are tied to complications with COVID-19, and disproportionately impact the African American community.
Infections in Hispanics
Hispanics and Latinos also test positive for the virus at a higher rate when compared to other peoples. In Virginia, for instance, there are over 12,000 cases, and 49% of these correspond to minority individuals.
Similar to African Americans, there are more Latinos in essential services. As a result, they are more exposed to the virus. Multi-generational dense housing conditions, and poverty, further encourage the spread of the virus.
The uneven number of deaths is not as stark for Latinos as it is for African Americans. The main reason is that their population is younger when compared to African Americans. Unfortunately, data from smaller minorities is not available. There are 136 deaths among Native Americans from COVID-19.
Limited Protections to Prevent Exposure
Mainly, black-dominated counties of the United States are facing infection at a three-fold higher rate, and their death rate is six times higher when compared to white counties. Most of these communities are poor zones with higher housing density, higher unemployment rates, and restricted access to educational opportunities. Undoubtedly, low socioeconomic rank is an independent risk factor when considering the current Coronavirus pandemic.
Is Marijuana a CNS Depressant?
Marijuana is a drug that people often use recreationally and also call it to weed. However, some even use it for medicinal purposes to cope with symptoms of chronic conditions. It can have depressant effects, but it is not a depressant. Also, it can act as a hallucinogen or stimulant.
It contains delta-9- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive chemical that alters the mental state of the person who uses marijuana. Consuming, vaping, or smoking weed or marijuana can affect each person differently. It can have a strong depressant effect for many and may not on others. Different strains and types of plants can have a different effect on the mind and body.
When a person uses marijuana, his stomach and lungs absorb THC in the bloodstream. This absorbed THC moves to the brain and other parts of the body. When it reaches the brain, it acts on brain cell receptors causing stimulant, hallucinogenic, and depressant effects.
Marijuana or hemp is similar to alcohol as it contains both depressant and stimulant properties, as suggested by the National Institutes of Health in a publication. The side effects of marijuana begin quickly and also last longer than alcohol.
Many of the cannabinoids present in marijuana can cause side effects, just like depressants. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has categorized marijuana as a psychoactive drug, with hallucinogen effects. Hence, marijuana is used widely across the globe as a powerful hallucinogen, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
What are Psychoactive Drugs?
A psychoactive drug is a substance that has the potential to change the brain functions of a person. This type of mind-altering or recreational drug can lead to shifts in mood, perception, level of awareness, consciousness, and cognitive behavior or functioning.
Regular marijuana consumption, especially higher doses, can cause unpleasant thoughts, disorientation, feelings of paranoia, or anxiety. It can affect emotions, attention, learning ability, coordination, decision-making, memory, and reaction time of a person.
Excessive usage can also interfere with work, daily functioning, relationship, and other regular activities. As these psychoactive substances are rewarding and have potential drug abuse, they can reinforce drug-seeking behaviors in the consumers, which can lead to addiction and dependence on these products.
What are CNS Depressants?
CNS Depressants are substances that can slow or depress the central nervous system of a person. The Central Nervous system consists of the spinal cord and brain. The system is a complex network of nerves and neurons, which send messages or signals to all the parts of the body.
CNS Depressants slow down the rate of regular activities occurring in the spinal cord and brain by slowing or depressing the rate at which the nerves of the body sends the signal. Depressants increase the amount of neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the body, which hampers the transmission of signals in the nervous system.
Sleep medications, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates are three common types of CNS depressant drugs. Prescription drugs like Valium and Xanax are used for the treatment of medical conditions like insomnia, anxiety, and seizures. Generally, these medications are safe and effective only when used as per prescription and for appropriate medical conditions.
Even though marijuana can cause effects similar to CNS depressants, it cannot be considered as a CNS depressant. The main reason for the sedative effect of marijuana is its ability to increase the level of dopamine in the body. However, marijuana doesn’t affect the level of neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid in the body.
A study conducted in the year 2016 has clearly indicated that the initial use of marijuana can increase the levels of dopamine in the body. However, long-term use of the drug can affect the level of neurotransmitter release. When the level of dopamine in the body goes down to normal, the user may experience low energy and lethargy. On the other hand, consistent use of the drug can cause the effects of CNS depressants.
Risks associated with CNS Depressants
Risks of CNS depressants include addiction and dependence. When depressant is misused or taken for long-term, the risks associated are even higher. Consuming CNS depressants to achieve a high can cause dangerous and severe side effects.
When consumers combine these drugs with other substances, it can lead to CNS depression or sleepiness. Overdose can result in a significant slowdown of breathing and heart rate of a person, which in turn can lead to deadly consequences that need emergency medical attention.
Depression and Marijuana
Specific evidence for the role of marijuana in causing depression is lacking. There is only limited research on the drug due to its classification into the Schedule I category. However, some studies have shown that marijuana’s high dose can aggravate depression. People who are suffering from depression may use weed or marijuana to numb or lighten the negative feelings. Similarly, people who use marijuana may feel depressed due to the CNS depressant effects of marijuana.
The CNS depressant effect of marijuana includes:
- The lesser feeling of anxiousness
- Aiding sleep
- Reducing insomnia
However, with long term use and overdose of marijuana, a person can experience side effects like:
- Slurred speech
- Memory problems
- Slow breathing
- Poor concentration levels
- Loss of interest
- Dependency and addiction to marijuana
It needs to be noted that the classification of a drug as a CNS depressant is different from the potential effect of the drug on depression. A drug that can depress the central nervous system of your body doesn’t cause depression symptoms like insomnia, loss of interest, or sadness unless the drug is used chronically for an extended duration.
Marijuana to treat Depression
Recent studies have shown that controlled use of marijuana or medicinal products derived from marijuana can help relieve symptoms of depression. The studies have shown the correlation between marijuana and depression depends directly on the amount and duration of use.
In 2014, the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs had published clinical research that showed the use of marijuana is associated with reduced symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. The research showed that, on average, 75 percent of symptoms of PTSD were reduced with effective use of marijuana. However, scientists feel that there is a need for more research to account for variables.